2 deadly package explosions in Austin are connected, police say

Posted March 13, 2018

A 17-year old boy has been killed and a woman in her 40s injured in a bomb blast in Austin, Texas on Monday, 10 days after a man died in a similar attack.

The fatal incident mirrored another explosive-package death in Austin less than two weeks earlier: 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House was killed after he received a package at his Harris Ridge neighborhood home on March 2.

In addition to the two reported explosions Monday, the city saw a third blast in Northeast Austin on March 2 that killed one man.

He warned residents to watch out for unexpected boxes left outside their homes, without picking them up, and to report anything suspicious to police.

"All three incidents, up to this point, have occurred at residences".

"These devices can explode in many ways, either by being moved or being opened so that's why I want to reiterate the importance that if you see something that's out of place, do not handle it, do not move it, do not touch it. Call us", Manley said. He says they aren't ruling anything out, but they are no longer "making the connection to a hate crime".

Monday afternoon the Austin Police Department tweeted that Austin Fire Department units were onscene in the 6700 block of Galindo Street in response to an explosion.

In all three cases, two Monday and one on March 2, a package exploded at someone's home.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting with the investigation.

The first blast Monday, which detonated before 7 a.m., killed a 17-year-old boy and injured a woman. Manley said a motive in the two incidents remains unclear, but the victim in the first and second explosion are African American and they can not rule out that the incidents were hate crimes.

As Police Chief Brian Manley held a news conference to discuss that blast, authorities were called to the scene of another explosion that injured a 75-year-old Hispanic woman.

Austin police have evacuated nearby homes and brought bomb-sniffing dogs to investigate the area. Police said that incident was being investigated as a homicide. She was taken to a hospital with potentially life-threatening wounds. In at least the first two blasts, the packages were left overnight on the victims' doorsteps and were not mailed or sent by a delivery service.

Officers said the suspect did not have permission to be at the home and was stealing the victim's property.

It is the second deadly package explosion in Austin this month.

"But we are not making any assumptions", Chief Manley stated. Though he did not say festival goers should be overly anxious, he stressed the importance of "if you see something, say something".

"It's not time to panic, but it's time to be vigilant and it's time to pay attention, it's time to come together as a city and solve this", Manley said.