UPDATE: Austin Police Department believes explosive package ‘incidents are related’

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UPDATE 3 p.m.

Interim Police Chief Brian Manley in a press conference just confirmed that Austin Police Department believes that three explosive packages delivered to East Austin homes since March 2—including two Monday morning—may be related.

“We’ve got a pattern of incidences that have occurred in the past 10 days that we believe are related,” Manley told reporters in front of the site of the third incident at the 6700 block of Galindo Street in Southeast Austin.

Manley said a 75-year-old Hispanic woman is in critical but stable condition with life-threatening injuries following a third incident that prompted authorities to connect the string of explosions. However, he emphasized that investigators have not linked any ideology or victim-targeting to the incidents, which all occurred at residences in different portions of East Austin. Also, the packages in all three cases were not left by any official delivery service, Manley said.

“I’m imploring the community, if you know anything, come forward and let us know,” Manley said.

He also said there is no reason to believe there is any greater risk for attendees of the ongoing South by Southwest Conference and Festivals, which runs through March 18.

Here is the full video of the Manley press conference from FOX 7:


UPDATE 2:27 p.m.

Out of 439 confirmed bombings reported to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms during the 2016 calendar year, only three involved someone hand-placing a box containing explosive material, according to the ATF’s 2016 Annual Explosives Incident Report, the latest report available on the ATF’s public website.

For more information, click here.


UPDATE 2:05 p.m.

FOX 7 reports no word from police yet on whether a third explosion in the past 11 days is related to two packages that exploded this morning and March 2.

Interim Police Chief Brian Manley told reporters this morning the two previous incidents may be related and could not rule out the deadly incidents as hate crimes because the recipients in both cases were African-Americans, FOX 7 reports.

More information will be posted as it is reported.


ORIGINAL STORY POSTED 12:47 p.m.

At least two people have been killed in a series of three explosions in East Austin since March 2. The second and third incidents occurred Monday morning and both included brown packages with handwritten addresses, according to sources who spoke with FOX 7—our partner TV news agency.

On early Monday afternoon, the Austin Police Department reported an explosion in the 6700 block of Galindo Street.

One woman in her 70s was transported to the hospital following the incident with serious, potentially life-threatening injuries, according to Austin-Travis County EMS.

In a separate incident earlier Monday, FOX 7 reports a teen believed to be a 17-year-old male was killed and a woman was injured after a package exploded inside a home in the 4800 block of Oldfort Hill Drive.

Interim Police Chief Brian Manley said it is believed a resident at the home went outside and found a package on their front steps. The package was brought inside and exploded as it was opened.

Officials said it is not believed the delivery came through any mail service but was instead placed on the doorstep.

The FBI and ATF are assisting the Austin Police Department with the case, which is being investigated as a homicide. The woman who was injured was taken to an area hospital for treatment.

Manley said Monday’s incident is very similar to another explosion that happened March 2, in which another person was killed after finding a package on his front steps that exploded.

That case was originally being investigated as a suspicious death but has now been reclassified as a homicide investigation.

Both cases are now being looked at as possibly related, according to Manley. He said hate crime cannot be ruled out because both homes that were recipients of the packages belonged to African Americans. However, they can not say it is the cause.

It is unknown at this time if the third incident was also the result of a suspicious package or at the home of African Americans.

Officials are now warning the community to be aware of suspicious packages.

Police say to not handle any suspicious package found on a front porch but to instead call 911 so they can inspect it. That could mean a package that was unexpected, from an unexpected source or that gives you cause for concern.

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COMMENT
  1. Barbara Szalay

    A description of the packages would be helpful. How does a “suspicious” package look, beyond the fact that you wren’t expecting it?

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