Two More Explosive Devices Rattle Texas After Austin Bombings
Two more explosive devices in Texas, one that blew up inside a FedEx Corp. facility outside San Antonio, and another found unexploded at a FedEx site in Austin, kept the region on edge Tuesday as the investigation intensified.
Austin Police said Tuesday evening they were responding to an explosion in the city’s south.
A call about the first explosion came in Tuesday morning, shortly after 12 a.m. local time, at a FedEx Ground sorting facility in Schertz. It followed an explosion in Austin on Sunday night, the fourth there since early March in a series of incidents that police have blamed on a serial bomber.
Austin Police said in a tweet that two packages found Tuesday are connected to the four previous explosions in Austin that have occurred this month.
Two people familiar with the investigation said emergency officials responded to an unexploded device found in the other FedEx center near Austin’s airport. Austin Police Officer Destiny Winston said a call came in identifying a suspicious package there after 6 a.m., and that the bomb squad was brought in.
FedEx said in a statement that the individual responsible for the package that exploded in Schertz also shipped a second package that was secured and turned over to authorities.
The explosion occurred in a sorting area while the package was traveling along a conveyor belt, said police in Schertz, which is about an hour south of Austin. One person was treated for minor injuries.
Police cars blocked the road leading into the FedEx facility on Doerr Lane there, and FBI and other law-enforcement vehicles, including a mobile command center, could be seen outside the large beige facility.
Local and federal law enforcement on the scene declined to disclose specifics of the incident, but said they didn’t believe the small town was the intended target of the explosion.
Later Tuesday morning, authorities cordoned off a FedEx store in Sunset Valley—a municipality within Austin’s borders—where a police spokesman said investigators believe the exploded package had been mailed. The spokesman didn’t say where investigators believe the package was heading, but Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a television interview that it was mailed both from and to Austin.
The recent Austin blasts have killed two people and injured several more. Police repeated their call Tuesday for the public to remain vigilant, to report anything suspicious and to keep their hands off anything that looks suspicious.
Austin police said Tuesday they had received 420 suspicious-package calls in just 24 hours and more than 1,200 such calls since March 12.
More than 500 federal agents from a variety of agencies are helping local police investigate the bombings.
The bombings stretch back to March 2, when a package explosion went off in northeast Austin, killing a 39-year-old man. A pair of package bombs detonated 10 days later in another neighborhood, leaving a 17-year-old dead and two other people wounded. On Sunday night, two men were seriously injured by an explosion in a wealthy enclave near the city limits.
Police initially speculated the attacks might be racially motivated, because the two deceased victims came from prominent African-American families, while one of the wounded people is Hispanic. But Sunday’s bombing was different, rigged with a tripwire, and police say the injured victims—two white men—appear to be random.
Authorities continued Tuesday to pore through hundreds of leads and offer rewards of more than $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.