Police investigate possible 6th explosion in Texas

Austin's interim Chief of Police Brian Manley (L) and Assistant Chief Troy Gay speak in a neighborhood while investigating a bombing in Austin, Texas, on Monday. Photo by Stephen Spillman/EPA

March 20 (UPI) — Emergency officials responded Tuesday evening to an explosion at a Goodwill store in South Austin as the region remains on edge from a series of bombs this month.

Austin-Travis EMS said officials transported a man in his 30s to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

It’s unclear if the explosion is directly related to six other bombs — five of which detonated, one of which did not — police said are linked in and around the city since the beginning of March. If so, it would be the third bomb found Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, Sunset Valley police department said the agency is investigating the possibility the six confirmed related bombs are linked to a private package delivery office in Sunset Valley, an enclave in the capital of Texas.

The police department said there were no known public safety threats to Sunset Valley residents or others in the area, but urged residents to report any suspicious packages, items, or occurrences.

Earlier Tuesday, a package bomb headed for Austin exploded at a FedEx sorting facility near San Antonio. Police later found another package containing an explosive device at another FedEx facility near the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

A FedEx employee sustained a concussion in the blast shortly after midnight at the Schertz, Texas, facility about 15 miles northeast of San Antonio.

About 75 employees were working at the processing plant when the package exploded.

Police so far are investigating a total of six bombs or suspicious packages this month.

In addition to the one that exploded in Schertz and the suspicious package found at the Austin FedEx facility Monday:

  • On March 2, Anthony Stephan House, 39, died in the first bombing attack in East Austin. He was a father and a graduate of Texas State University.
  • On March 12, Draylen Mason, 17, died and his mother, Shamika Wilson, was injured in the second of the bomb attacks also in East Austin. Draylen was recently accepted into the selective Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin.
  •  On March 12, Esperanza “Hope” Herrera, 75, sustained injuries when a package left outside her East Austin home exploded.
  •  On Sunday, an explosion injured two men when a package left on their doorstep exploded. Police believe the device was likely triggered by a tripwire. The two men, ages 22 and 23, were expected to survive.

Austin interim Police Chief Brian Manley said investigators believe the first four bombs are connected because of similar components and the Schertz bomb could be related. Manley tweeted a statement reminding residents to remain “vigilant.”

An FBI agent said the box that exploded Monday was being mailed from Austin and was headed to Austin. The package, which exploded as it was moving from an elevated conveyor belt to a lower section, was loaded with shrapnel consisting of nails and pieces of metal.

Joining the FBI and ATF are hundreds of law enforcement agents from across the state.

Sunday’s explosion occurred just hours after the FBI increased its reward for information to $100,000. Texas Crime Stoppers is offering an additional $15,000 for the bomber’s arrest and conviction.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday announced a warning to travelers about the bombings. Screening procedures for all commercial flights to the United States were enhanced also.

“If you’re in the area, you should remain vigilant and follow the advice of local law enforcement authorities,” according to the announcement. “If you need more information about how this may affect your particular flight, contact your airline or travel company.”

During remarks from the White House on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said the person responsible for the bombings is “very sick” and vowed to “get to the bottom of it.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here