The man suspected of being behind the series of bombs exploding around residential areas in Austin, Texas, killing two residents and injuring others over the course of three weeks, has died, Austin police said at a press conference early Wednesday morning.
According to Austin Police Chief Brian Manley, officers had located the suspected serial bomber’s car at a hotel in Round Rock, a northern suburb of Austin. While awaiting the arrival of more tactical teams, the suspect began driving away, leading to a pursuit. However, the suspect shortly pulled his car over and detonated an explosive as SWAT officers approached, killing himself and injuring a SWAT officer. A second SWAT officer fired at the suspect.
Manley did not identify the suspect but said he was a 24-year-old white man, saying authorities were able to locate him through video footage and witness testimony. CBS Austin released photos of the suspect from a security camera early Wednesday morning.
CBS Austin obtains photos of person of interest in Austin bombings. View photos here: https://t.co/pr5jnJBL3g
— CBS Austin (@cbsaustin) March 21, 2018
While the suspect had been noted by authorities for some time Manley said, he became the main person of interest in just the past 36 hours.
The suspect is believed to be responsible for all related bombings that have taken place in Texas’ capital city, as well as one bomb that set off at a FedEx location in the San Antonio suburb of Schertz, dating back to March 2.
Five bombs killed two people, 39-year-old Anthony House and 17-year-old Draylen Mason, both Black, and injured several others, including a 75-year-old Hispanic woman, two white men, a FedEx employee, and Mason’s mother. Authorities also discovered an undetonated sixth bomb at a FedEx location in Austin. Authorities determined that fifth incident on Tuesday night, in which a Goodwill employee accidentally set off one of two “artillery simulators” left in a donation box while trying to remove them, was unrelated to the bombings.
Over the course of 19 days, the suspect used a series of package bombs and one trip wire to incite terror across the city. As the first March 2 bombing gave way to two bombings on March 10, Austin police warned residents to alert authorities before opening any poorly marked, unexpected packages. Between March 12 and March 19, Austin police responded to 1,257 suspicious package calls as a result.
APD is asking the public to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious. If you come across ANYTHING that looks suspicious, DO NOT touch, handle or disturb it. Keep a safe distance and call 9-1-1 immediately. pic.twitter.com/Dk0uWVcJiP
— Austin Police Department (@Austin_Police) March 20, 2018
Manley told the community to remain cautious, saying they haven’t determined his motive, whether the suspect left other bombs in the day prior to his death, or if he acted alone.
On Twitter, President Donald Trump congratulated Austin police with a tweet announcing the death of the suspected bomber, writing, “AUSTIN BOMBING SUSPECT IS DEAD. Great job by law enforcement and all concerned!”
AUSTIN BOMBING SUSPECT IS DEAD. Great job by law enforcement and all concerned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2018
On Tuesday, Trump referred to the suspect as “very sick,” while White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters that the Austin bombings were not suspected to be terrorism-related.
That same day, a Reddit user claiming to be the Austin bomber wrote that he wanted to “watch the world burn” but wrote that he was a “30-50 year old” man, differing from authorities’ disclosure that the suspect was 24. His account was quickly deleted and scrubbed by moderators.
Update 9:33am ET: The Austin serial bomber has reportedly been identified as Mark Anthony Conditt, according to NBC News.
Correction: A previous version misstated the number of bombs that went off. There were five. We regret the error.