Families of two people killed by package bombs left on their doorsteps in Austin knew each other and were connected through local activism in the black community, a civic leader said Tuesday.
The attacks unfolded as tens of thousands of visitors arrived for the busiest days of South By Southwest. As Police Chief Brian Manley held a news conference to discuss that attack, authorities were called to the scene of another explosion that injured a 75-year-old Hispanic woman. She was taken to Dell Seton Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.
Authorities suspect that both of Monday's explosions were linked to a March 2 attack that killed a 39-year-old black man. Still, Manley urged Austin residents to call 911 if they receive any unwanted packages that look suspicious. Police said the two people killed were African-American and the woman injured in the third explosion was Hispanic.
In describing the blast that killed the teenager, Manley said: "One of the residents went out front and there was a package on the front doorstep". Adler said it is still too early to know the motive.
In all three cases, he said, the packages did not appear to have gone through the U.S. Postal Service or private carriers like UPS. But they happened far from the main events and concert venues.
"Enjoy yourself, have a good time", he said. "There's no reason to believe that you are at any greater risk other than be aware, look for things that are suspicious". Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible.
Ted Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber, was convicted in 1998 of killing three people and injuring 23 others in a mail bombing campaign against modern technology that was waged for nearly two decades. Additional security measures were taken in the aftermath, including additional policing, tougher security checks and brighter street lighting, among others.
Law enforcement authorities investigate after multiple explosions in Austin, Texas, on March 12, 2018. The east side has historically been more heavily minority and less wealthy than Austin's west side, although that has changed as gentrification has raised home prices and rents everywhere.
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The second bomb exploded before 7 a.m. on Monday inside a home in East Austin.
On March 2, a man died after a package exploded on the front porch of a home on Haverford Drive. House's death was initially investigated as suspicious but is now viewed as a homicide.
"It shook my house and it shook my body", Isaiah Guerrero told CNN affiliate KXAN of the explosion that injured the elderly woman.
"The cops were running and telling everyone 'Get out of the house!"
Whether the victims were targeted: "The evidence makes us believe these incidents are related", the police chief said. "At this point, it is just random maliciousness", said Ryan Jones, 39, who runs the lunch programme at a local charter school. "It's just a grandmother, you know what I mean?"
Tina Sherrow, a retired agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the materials to build such bombs are commonly available at hardware stores or online, and that police have been mum on details because the perpetrators may be watching media coverage. "If you see something, say something, call us".
"Please stay safe, and if you see something, say something", they wrote on Twitter.
The teenager killed yesterday morning on Oldfort Hill Road was Draylen Mason, who attended East Austin College Prep.