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Hate messages pile up for friends and family of suspected Austin bomber (updated)
The hate came quickly.
Authorities on Wednesday identified the suspected Austin bomber as Mark Anthony Conditt, a 24-year-old from Texas. Within minutes of the announcement, his family members faced a stream of hate-filled messages on public posts they made on Facebook.
Authorities say Conditt killed himself early Wednesday with an explosive device after being chased by police.
Conditt himself has a very limited social media presence. However, a Blogger profile that appears to be written by Conditt called “Defining My Stance” does share some of his beliefs including that gay marriage should be illegal, that women should not have “free abortions,” and arguing in favor of the death penalty, among other things.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott told Fox News on Wednesday that Conditt’s social media went “dark” in the weeks leading up to the attacks to make it difficult for the “average person” to access them.
“The things that he posted in the past, before these crimes arose, there were no red flags clearly saying, ‘This is the guy whose gonna be setting off bombs,’” Abbott told the news outlet.
One Facebook page with the name “Mark Conditt” had no profile photo or public posts, but was friends with two other people with the same last name.
Danene Conditt, the suspect’s mother according to the Statesman, shared a photo in 2013 of Mark Conditt graduating. The post has since been shared more than 400 times.
Christina Conditt, another person who is friends with the account believed to belong to Mark Conditt, quickly received a number of hate messages on a public post that she made earlier this month about a karaoke event at a bar.
“This family knew the brother was sick in the head..arrest them all,” one person wrote.
“People deserve to give you hate tho. you’re related to a monster,” another person wrote, later adding: “Clearly you know if someone you’re related to is a psychopath!”
Another person posting on her Facebook page thought that she was involved in the attacks.
However, many people also criticized the hate messages.
“Everyone needs to leave her alone, she was not the “bomber”. I’m sure she had no clue what her brother was doing. Give her the privacy she deserves. The family is probably as shocked about this as everyone else. Christina, please deactivate your account. Please stay strong!” one person wrote.
“You don’t know WHAT the family may or may not have known. For you to attack people who likely had NOTHING to do with his crimes makes you a despicable Shitheel of a human being,” another person wrote in response to one of the hate-messages.
The post was later deleted.
Regardless of the spotty social media history, Abbott said authorities will investigate “digital information.”
“I think there was a treasure trove of information in his house, as well as digital information, that should shed light more upon who he is, what he was doing and why he was doing it,” Abbott told Fox News.
Update 8:30am ET, March 22: The family of bombing suspect Mark Conditt has released the following statement, per CNN:
“We are devastated and broken at the news that our family could be involved in such an awful way. We had no idea of the darkness that Mark must have been in. Our family is a normal family in every way. We love, we pray, and we try to inspire and serve others. Right now our prayers are for those families that have lost loved ones, for those impacted in any way, and for the soul of our Mark. We are grieving and we are in shock. Please respect our privacy as we deal with this terrible, terrible knowledge and try to support each other through this time.”
Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).