3 pack­age bombs kill 2; po­lice say they’re linked

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - NATIONAL REPORT -

AUSTIN, TEXAS >> Po­lice have linked three pack­age bomb­ings that have killed two res­i­dents in Austin, Texas, over the last 10 days, rais­ing fears that a se­rial bomber is tar­get­ing the city as hun­dreds of thou­sands of fes­ti­val­go­ers flock to town for South by South­west.

Two of the bomb­ings hap­pened Mon­day morn­ing in res­i­den­tial ar­eas in the east­ern half of the city, and po­lice have not iden­ti­fied a sus­pect or given a pos­si­ble mo­tive as fed­eral of­fi­cials joined the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The vic­tims of the first two bomb­ings were black, rais­ing fears early Mon­day that the Aus­tinites were tar­geted be­cause of their race. A Latina was the vic­tim of the third bomb­ing, af­ter which po­lice de­clined to spec­u­late on a pos­si­ble pat­tern.

“We are not rul­ing any­thing out at this point,” Po­lice Chief Brian Man­ley said at a news con­fer­ence. “We’re im­plor­ing the com­mu­nity, if you know any­thing about these at­tacks, it is im­per­a­tive that you come for­ward and let us know. We have in­no­cent peo­ple get­ting hurt across this com­mu­nity.”

Be­fore 7 a.m. Mon­day res­i­dents at one home in east­ern Austin found a mys­te­ri­ous pack­age on their doorstep and brought it inside, Man­ley said.

When they be­gan open­ing the pack­age in their kitchen, the pack­age ex­ploded, killing a 17-year-old boy and in­jur­ing a woman who was taken the hos­pi­tal with non-life-threat­en­ing in­juries, Man­ley said.

Sev­eral hours later, shortly be­fore noon and about 5 miles to the south, a 75-year-old woman found a sim­i­lar mys­te­ri­ous pack­age on her porch. “She picked up the pack­age, and at that point the ex­plo­sion, the box det­o­nated,” Man­ley said. The woman re­mained in crit­i­cal con­di­tion Mon­day af­ter­noon with life-threat­en­ing in­juries.

The two bomb­ings came a lit­tle over a week af­ter a north­east­ern Austin res­i­dent, An­thony Stephan House, 39, was killed in a “very sim­i­lar” pack­age bomb­ing, Man­ley said.

The “av­er­age-sized” pack­ages don’t ap­pear to have been sent through tra­di­tional de­liv­ery ser­vices such as the

U.S. Postal Ser­vice or UPS, and were left without ring­ing the bell, said Man­ley.

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