The authorities search for the motive for the Austin package bombs
Austin parcel bombs leave 2 dead and 2 wounded. Will Carr has more on the investigation.
The police is on high alert in Austin, Texas, after a series of package deliveries are at least two dead and several others injured after an explosion rocked their homes.
The first explosion on March 2, killing the 39-year-old Anthony Stephan’s House after a “device” exploded on the porch of his Austin home. The explosion was investigated in initially as a suspicious death, and later as a murder.
Ten days later a similar incident was reported at only 12 km from the home. A 17-year-old, who as Draylen Mason, was killed and his mother was injured after a package exploded at their home.
Hours after the second explosion occurred, police reported a third explosion, confirmed that at least one elderly woman was injured.
Austin police chief Brian Manley announced on March 18th afternoon press conference that the department, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were offering $100,000 — up from the previous reward of $50,000 for anyone giving information leading to an arrest in the case.
The six-figure reward was in addition to a separate reward of $15,000 offered by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office.
The night of March 18, around 8:30 am, a fourth explosion-possibly as a result of a trip wire — occurred. Two men in their 20s suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the explosion, including those nails in his leg, according to KVUE-TV.
“If this explosion was the result of a bomb with a trip-wire’ technology, that is showing a different level of skill above that we were all afraid that this defendant or the defendants may possess,” Austin police chief Brian Manley told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on March 19.
All of the explosions are believed to be linked, according to researchers, officials said that they do not exclude all possible motives, including a possible hate crime, taking into account all of the victims are black or Latino. Two of the three families that have been affected are reportedly knew each other through the activism in the local black community.
Here is a timeline of the deadly package explosions shake Austin — and what the police advise residents as they continue to investigate the incidents.
Austin police receive reports of an explosion and finding of a critically-injured House. The 39-year-old victim was transported to the nearby Round Rock Hospital.
Anthony Stephan House, died after a device exploded on the porch of his Austin, Texas home.
(Austin Police Department)
The house is declared dead in the hospital nearly an hour later. The authorities announce House of the death is being investigated as “suspicious.”
The Austin Police department holds a press conference in the House of the neighborhood.
APD briefing on explosion in the 1100 block of Haverford Dr. https://t.co/jLZDDTHe9k
— Austin Police Dept (@Austin_Police) March 2, 2018
Austin police say they have determined that the device is in a package, and are working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to reconstruct the item and learning that may have made.
“Now, we are trying to determine how the packet pick up, and who was the victim? We are of the opinion that this was addressed to someone. We are still trying to figure out, or that the person who is deceased or not,” Assistant Chief Joseph Chacon with the Austin Police department tells reporters at a press conference.
Police say that it is an isolated incident and that there is no continuing threat to the community”, adding that there is no reason to believe that it is terror-related.
“Always when we have a bomb go off when someone dies, the first thing people think about is terrorism. Although we do not completely rule out at this point, we do not believe that terrorism is a motive in this death,” said Chacon.
The house also had to deal with earlier allegations in Travis County, according to Fox 7.
Austin Police got a call about an explosion in a neighborhood on the northwest side of the city, after a 17-year-old resident found a package on the front step, brought it inside and opened it in the kitchen, where it exploded.
Authorities confirm a teen is dead and a woman in her 40s was seriously injured after a package exploded at a home in Austin, the highlight of the second explosion in the city within two weeks.
Police say the teen died at the scene, while the woman was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries.
The FBI has to help Austin police with the investigation.
The Austin Police department holds a press conference near where the second package bombardment has taken place.
APD briefing on explosion in the 4800 block of Old Fort Hill Drive. https://t.co/gY2yyu5aOY
— Austin Police Dept (@Austin_Police) March 12, 2018
The authorities say that they believe that the parcel bomb death of the teenager, and the wounded of the woman is linked to the deadly package sent to home to Home, earlier this month, because they were both left on the front door and not delivered by an e-mail service.
Manley said the U. S. Postal Service does not have a record of delivering a package to the Austin house where the explosion occurred Monday.
The police re-arrange the House of the death as a “murder-investigation, instead of a suspicious death,” as the two incidents may be related.
Manley said the researchers hope to collect surveillance video and the evidence of nearby properties to identify a suspect.
“We are working with a canvas of the neighborhood now,” Manley says.
Another explosion was reported in the Montopolis neighborhood, located southeast of downtown Austin.
The Austin Police Department confirms police are reponding to an “urgent” call.
Austin-Travis County EMS officials declare a “trauma alert,” announces they are the transport of at least one patient to the hospital after an explosion reported.
Austin-Travis County EMS confirmed in a tweet that a woman in her 70s has “serious, potentially life-threatening” injuries. A second woman from that address had a non-related medical issue and was not taken to the hospital.
UPDATE2 reported explosion 6700blk Galindo St (1149): CORRECTION to 1st patient ~70 female and was transported to Dell Seton Medical Seton with serious, potentially life-threatening injuries, 2nd patient ~80 woman with a non-related medical problem. More information to follow.
— ATCEMS (@ATCEMS) March 12, 2018
The police hold a press briefing to update reporters on a third blast in Austin.
The police identify the victim of the third bombardment as a 75-year-old Spanish woman, who is currently in “critical, but stable condition.”
Based on evidence gathered at the scene, the police say that they believe in the third incident is related to the previous two, in which the package of the bombs.
“We don’t have a specific victimology … at this point, we are willing to explore any avenue that may be involved behind these attacks,” Manley says.
Manley says it is not yet clear whether the victims were intended targets,” but asks the community to be vigilant.
“We have innocent people getting hurt in the whole community,” he adds.
Austin police are dispatched to a southwest Austin neighborhood after reports of a “bomb hotshot” explosion.
Austin police confirm that two men on the bicycle were injured after another explosion-possibly as a result of a trip wire — occurred in an Austin neighborhood known as Travis Country.
The police will hold a news briefing to update the residents on the last explosion, which officials believe it is related to the three others.
“Not only do not touch packages or something that looks like a package — not even close at this moment,” Manley warned.
Austin police will hold another news briefing, with Manley on the mic.
“There are messages in the media that this device was triggered by a trip wire, and we are here to say, that is a possibility,” Manley says. “So that changes things.”
Manley asks the members of the community to have an “extra level of vigilance.”
The police are asking residents in the Travis Country neighborhood to remain in their homes until the area has been properly cleared.
Urgent alerts are sent to the residents in Travis Country, asking them to remain until the police clear their neighborhood “all hazards.”
Got this message on my phone in Austin— pic.twitter.com/zQsf9odoTG
— Logan Dobson (@LoganDobson) March 19, 2018
The police warns residents to beware of suspicious packages
The packaging of the explosives involved in the three incidents were not supplied by the U. S. Postal Service or private carrier, but remained during the night on the sidewalk. Federal law enforcement officials told Fox News the packages were made to look like e-mail.
More than 500 law enforcement officials have investigated more than 400 possible leads in the case, Manley said March 18.
?If you receive a package you are not expecting or looks suspicious, do NOT open, call 911 immediately. RT – Help us spread this message. ? https://t.co/j9bxbaaBce
— Chief Brian Manley (@chief_manley) March 12, 2018
The police warned the residents that any suspicious packages to call 911, and send tips to the Austin Crime Stoppers at (512) 472-8477 or Texas Crime Stoppers at 1-800-252-8477.
If you see or receive a suspicious package, do NOT touch or handle it. 9-1-1 call immediately so that we can get officers to help you. #AustinPD #ATX #Security pic.twitter.com/eScYLxpbfD
— Austin Police Dept (@Austin_Police) March 17, 2018
Fox News’ Nicole Darrah and Travis Fedschun, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.