When a package exploded in Anthony Stephan House's home in Austin, Texas on March 2, authorities believed it was an isolated incidence. Then, the city experienced three additional explosions, leading police to conclude a "serial bomber" has been targeting it for unknown reasons. However, police could be one significant leap closer to putting an end to the Austin bombings now that an intercepted explosive package has provided new clues.
On Tuesday, the FBI confirmed that a FedEx facility in Austin had intercepted a suspicious package just after 6 a.m.. As it turned out, there was an explosive device inside. Earlier that same day, just after midnight, another package detonated in a FedEx facility in Schertz, Texas, which is near San Antonio. Texas Rep. Lloyd Doggett told the American-Statesman that the two packages were suspected to have been sent out from the same FedEx store. FedEx released a lengthy statement after the second package was discovered.
We have also confirmed that the individual responsible also shipped a second package that has now been secured and turned over to law enforcement. We are thankful that there were no serious injuries from this criminal activity. We have provided law enforcement responsible for this investigation extensive evidence related to these packages and the individual that shipped them collected from our advanced technology security systems.
Unfortunately, the two explosive packages discovered in separate FedEx facilities weren't the only dangerous devices making their way to Austin on Tuesday. A sixth blast occurred in Austin at a Goodwill store, though it was not the result of a package bomb. Instead, as the Austin Police Department explained, the explosion was triggered by an artillery simulator, which is different from an explosive device. Austin Assistant Police Chief Ely Reyes noted the incendiary device could have been a military memento that a family simply didn't know how to properly get rid of.
During a press briefing on Tuesday night, the Austin Police Department made it clear that it doesn't believe this incident at the Goodwill store is connected to the previous five explosions. It tweeted,
#UPDATE: There was no package explosion in the 9800 block of Brodie Ln. Items inside package was not a bomb, rather an incendiary device. At this time, we have no reason to believe this incident is related to previous package bombs. #Breaking #packagebombmurders
Still, the threat posed by the previous five explosions is significant. And just when people believed they might be getting closer to identifying a motive, their theory got tripped up. The first three package bombs were left on residential doorsteps and targeted either black or hispanic people. For that reason, people feared the attacks were racially motivated. At the same time, Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley confirmed, "We believe that the recent explosive incidents that have occurred in the city of Austin were meant to send a message ... "We hope this person or persons is watching and will reach out to us before anyone else is injured or anyone else is killed out of this event."
Another explosion on Sunday, however, made things more complicated. Unlike the previous three devices, Sunday's package was left on the side of a road and perhaps triggered by a tripwire. Though no one was killed, two men suffered serious injuries. Seeing as the next move could be unpredictable, Chief Manley released a warning for Austin residents on Monday:
We now need the community to have extra level of vigilance and pay attention to any suspicious device — whether it be a package or a bag, a backpack — anything that looks out of place. And do not approach items like that.
Now that that FBI is examining the evidence from the package intercepted in an Austin, Texas FedEx facility, police will hopefully get closer to putting an end to these atrocities.