Police see links in 2 deadly incidents
An Austin teenager was killed and woman was injured early Monday when a package left on their doorstep exploded, marking the second deadly package explosion in the Texas capital in two weeks.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said the two incidents displayed enough similarities to investigate them together. Since both victims were African-Americans, Manley said investigators are also viewing the attacks as potential hate crimes.
His department is working with the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to determine whether both bombs were similar and to identify the person, or people, who built them.
“We are not going to tolerate this in Austin,” Manley said while briefing reporters on the explosion. “Every stop will be pulled out.”
In both cases, which occurred on March 2 and Monday in Austin homes about 11 miles apart, packages were left on a doorstep during the night and residents found them when they first walked outside in the morning. Both packages exploded as the residents opened them inside.
The first case, which killed 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House, was first ruled a suspicious death. But once the second bomb exploded on Monday morning, police reclassified House’s death as a homicide and added it to a broader investigation.
Manley said his office still didn’t know the motive behind the attacks. He said his office has not ruled out terrorism.
“We’re looking at any possible avenues in these two cases,” Manley said.
Manley urged Austin residents to call police if they find any package on their doorstop that gives them “cause for concern.”
“If you find any suspicious packages on your front porch at your residence, do not handle them but instead call 911 and let us come out and take a look at those packages and ensure that they are safe,” he said.
Manley said the U.S. Postal Service confirmed that its carriers had not delivered the package in Monday’s explosion. And while police are checking with other delivery services, including Amazon, Manley said it appeared that the packages were not delivered throughout traditional services.
Manley said federal and local investigators will spend the day Monday analyzing the latest explosion and trying to piece together how the bomb was built.
Shortly after finishing a press conference updating the case, Austin police said they were responding to a third explosion at a residence on the south side of Austin.
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