Pack­age bombs kill teen, wound 2 oth­ers in Austin

Manteca Bulletin - - Nation -

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Two pack­age bomb blasts a few miles apart killed a teenager and wounded two women in Austin on Mon­day, less than two weeks af­ter a sim­i­lar at­tack left a man dead in an­other part of the Texas cap­i­tal.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors said the bomb­ings are prob­a­bly con­nected, and they are look­ing into whether race was a fac­tor be­cause all of the vic­tims were mi­nori­ties. The blasts un­folded just as the city was swelling with vis­i­tors to the South By South­west music fes­ti­val.

The first of Mon­day’s at­tacks killed a 17-year-old boy and wounded a 40-year-old woman, both of them black. As Po­lice Chief Brian Man­ley held a news con­fer­ence to dis­cuss that at­tack, au­thor­i­ties were called to the scene of an­other ex­plo­sion that in­jured a 75-year-old His­panic woman. She was taken to a hos­pi­tal with po­ten­tially life-threat­en­ing wounds.

Au­thor­i­ties sus­pect that both of Mon­day’s ex­plo­sions were linked to a March 2 at­tack that killed a 39-year-old black man. All three blasts hap­pened as the pack­ages were opened, and of­fi­cials urged the pub­lic to call po­lice if they re­ceive any un­ex­pected pack­ages.

“This is the third in what we believe to be re­lated in­ci­dents over the past 10 days,” Man­ley said while brief­ing re­porters near the site of Mon­day’s sec­ond ex­plo­sion. He at first sug­gested that the blasts could con­sti­tute a hate crime, but later amended that to say au­thor­i­ties had not set­tled on a mo­tive.

“We are not rul­ing any­thing out at this point,” said Man­ley, who said the in­tended tar­gets were not clear since mul­ti­ple peo­ple live in the homes where ex­plo­sives were placed. “We are will­ing to in­ves­ti­gate any av­enue that may be in­volved.”

The po­lice chief re­fused to pro­vide many de­tails about how the ex­plo­sives were pack­aged, cit­ing the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion. But he said they were an “av­er­age-size let­ter box” and “not par­tic­u­larly large.”

In all three cases, he said, the pack­ages did not ap­pear to have gone through the U.S. Postal Ser­vice or pri­vate car­ri­ers like UPS. They were left on doorsteps with­out a knock or ring­ing of door­bells.

The ex­plo­sions hap­pened far from the main events of the wildly pop­u­lar fes­ti­val known as SXSW, which brings about 400,000 vis­i­tors to Austin each year. Man­ley urged vis­i­tors to “be aware of what’s go­ing on.”

“En­joy your­self. Have a good time,” he said. “There’s no rea­son to believe that you are at any greater risk other than be aware, look for things that are sus­pi­cious.”

In a tweet, or­ga­niz­ers of the fes­ti­val said “SXSW is heart­bro­ken by the ex­plo­sions in Austin,” and they urged vis­i­tors to stay safe.

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