AUSTIN, Texas – Two people were injured in another explosion in Texas’ capital, and the police do not say if this is caused by a package bomb as the three that exploded earlier this month elsewhere in the city.
The latest explosion took place around 8:30 a.m. on Sunday in a suburban neighborhood known as Travis Country west of Austin — far away from the previous three which were all in residential areas in the eastern part of the city, and the researchers did not immediately confirm what the cause is. But the police Brian Manley repeated the earlier warnings issued to the residents not to touch any unexpected packages left at their houses.
“What we have right now, there is a scene where it is obvious that an explosion has taken place,” Manley said at a hastily organized press conference near the site of the last explosion.
He urged the people within a half-mile to stay in their house and said authorities would keep the surrounding atmosphere at least until the dawning of the day Monday in the darkness and the size of the area that we want to go and check.”
“We want the message we have in the market and that is not only not touch packages or something that looks like a package is not even close at this time,” Manley said. Because “we have not had the chance to look at this blast site to really determine what happened.”
Manley also said authorities were still trying to “clear” a suspicious backpack found in the area that was part of a separate report.
“It is important now for everyone in the district behind us and give us the time for this,” he said, adding that any witnesses should call 911 and report what they saw.
Two men in their 20s were injured in the latest blast. The police said that they were admitted to the hospital with injuries were not life-threatening. It was the fourth explosion to rock Austin in less than three weeks.
The first was a package bomb that exploded at a northeast Austin home on March 2, killing a 39-year-old man. Two package bombs then exploded further to the south on March 12, the killing of a 17-year-old, injuring his mother and injuring a 75-year-old woman.
The police said that all three of them were likely to be related and involved packages that have not yet been sent or delivered by private carrier, but she left during the night on the sidewalk. Manley originally suggested that they would be able to hate crimes because all the victims were black or Hispanic, but says now that researchers not exclude a possible motive.
Manley last week urged the residents that there are unexpected packages to call the authorities without touching it or open it, and the police responded to hundreds of calls about suspicious packages, but nothing dangerous.
On Sunday, the police blocked the entrances to the neighborhood where the latest explosion occurred and yellow tape about a half mile from the house where it happened.
Despite the order for those who live in the neighborhood to remain in their homes, neighbors milled around just outside the tape. Some reported hearing loud explosions, but could not provide many details. FBI agents came to conduct interviews.
The latest explosion came hours after the authorities increased the reward to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for the first three explosions. It now amounts to $115,000.
Sunday is the last day of the South By Southwest music festival, which attracts hundreds of thousands to Austin each year in March. It is also the end of spring break for many school districts, which means that families from outside the city in recent days to return to a city increasingly on edge.
The explosions occurred far from the most important South By Southwest festival activities, is already the centre of a concert by hip-hop band The Roots, was canceled Saturday evening after a bomb threat. The authorities later arrested a 26-year-old man, and the incident does not seem to be related to any previous explosions.