March 17, 2018

Deadly Package Bombs Hit Austin, Texas, as South by Southwest Begins

13 March 2018, 04:12 | Rufus Hill

The scene of a deadly package bomb explosion in East Austin

The scene of a deadly package bomb explosion in East Austin

Residents of Austin, Texas, are being asked to report any suspicious packages as police investigate three explosions that took place after people handled boxes that had been delivered to their homes.

Anthony Stephan House, 39, was killed on March 2 when a package blew up at his home just 11 miles away from Monday's incident.

In describing the Monday morning blast that killed the teenager, the chief said: "What we understand at this point is that early this morning is that one of the residents went out front and there was a package on the front doorstep".

The latest explosions happened during the South by Southwest music, film and technology festival, which brings about 400,000 visitors to Austin each year, and authorities have urged the public to call the police if they receive any unexpected packages. A second explosion later in the morning left an elderly woman in critical condition, after she was injured picking up a package in front of her home, police said.

"Upon arrival... what we found was an explosion had occurred inside the residence". If you see a package, he reiterated: "Do not move it, do not touch it, call us".

There are no suspects at this time, but Federal Bureau of Investigation and the ATF is now assisting the Austin Police Department.

Monday's blasts were in homes about 4 miles (6 km) apart in east Austin, while the March 2 blast occurred at house in the city's northeast Harris Ridge neighborhood. The first bomb killed a 17-year-old male and wounded another woman. Following the second explosion hours later, he said authorities had not settled on a motive and could not rule anything out.

The FBI field office in San Antonio also said it was assisting Austin police with the investigation.

Police in Austin are warning residents not to open suspicious packages after a third explosion rocked the Texas capital this month.

The first explosion on Monday happened 6:50 4800 block of Oldfort Hill Drive near East Martin Luther King Jr. She has serious and potentially life-threatening injuries, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

The chief said he is not ruling out the possibility of a hate crime as at least two of the explosions involve black victims. 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. "We are imploring the community, if you know anything about these attacks, it is imperative that you come forward".

Due to a high level of calls, Manley noted that it may take officers a little while to arrive, but he said "we will respond".

At that time, police said they believed the explosion was an isolated incident and not linked to any kind of terrorist attack.

Police have not confirmed whether that case involved a package or was in any way related to the first two explosions.

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