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Austin bombing suspect was unemployed college dropout

AUSTIN, Texas – The man suspected of planting four bombs in the Texas capital this month that killed two people and four others injured was an unemployed college dropout who seems to be not much of a trail online apart from what 2012 blog posts about gay marriage and other topics.

Authorities say Mark Anthony Conditt blew himself up in a motel parking lot overnight as a SWAT team approached his SUV. The police have not yet publicly released Conditt name, but a law enforcement official who was briefed on the investigation identified Conditt as the suspect on the condition of anonymity because the official has not been authorized to discuss the matter in public.

Conditt grew up in Pflugerville, a suburb just northeast of Austin, where he was still alive after the removal of his parents at home. It is not far from the site of the first of the four package bombing — a 2 March explosion death of a 39-year-old man, Anthony House — though it is unknown whether Conditt knew one of the victims and the authorities said that the motive for the attacks remained unclear.

Authorities released few details about the suspect, aside from his age, that he was white and that he was apparently unemployed. But online postings indicate that he was home-schooled. He later attended Austin Community College from 2010 to 2012, but he did not graduate, according to a college spokeswoman. He worked for a time at a production company and Gov. Greg Abbott told KXAN-TV in Austin that Conditt had no criminal record.

Conditt few visible traces on social media. Apart from a few photos of him on his family’s Facebook pages, he apparently made to six items on a personal blog in 2012, he addressed a range of topics. In those posts, a blogger identifying himself as Mark Conditt of Pflugerville wrote that gay marriage should be illegal. He also called for the elimination of sex offender registries, and argued in favor of the death penalty. He described his interests as cycling, tennis and listening to music

Of gay marriage, Conditt wrote: “Homosexuality is not natural. Just look at the male and female organs. They are clearly designed for the few.”

Jeff Reeb, a neighbor of Conditt’s parents in Pflugerville for about 17 years, said he looked Conditt growing up and that he seemed “smart” and “polite.”

Reeb, 75, said Conditt and his grandson played together in high school and that Conditt regularly visited his parents, who Reeb is described as good neighbors.

Conditt was living with roommates, a few miles from his parental home and was in the process of stripping his home. He said Conditt’s father, who he referred to as Pat, worked as an Amway distributor and bought electronics on the side to sell.

The authorities said that they believe Conditt all the bombs and that he probably acted alone, though they are still investigating whether he had been able to help. He holds at least a part of his bomb-making materials from the Home Depot in Pflugerville, the USA. Rep. Michael McCaul, whose district includes the greater Austin area, told KXAN. She warned the audience that there are still package bombs that were planted in the 24 to 36 hours before Conditt death and that people should report any suspicious packages.

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Warren and Dunklin reported from Dallas. Chen reported from Chicago.

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