by Daveda Gruber:
On Monday two explosions shook homes in Austin Texas. A teenager was killed and at least two women were seriously hurt.
This comes just two weeks after a separate explosion, which authorities are saying is linked to at least one of Monday’s incidents.
Police in Austin said they received a call about the first explosion in a neighborhood on the northeast side of the city around 6:45 a.m., after the 17-year-old resident found a package on the front step, brought it inside, and opened it in the kitchen where it exploded.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told reporters, “It is very similar to the incident that occurred in Austin on March 2.”
The packages are made to look like mail, but at least the first one did not actually get shipped from the postal service. Manley said authorities don’t believe the packages came from a delivery through the U.S. Postal Service or private mail carriers.
The placement on the home’s front doorstep also indicated a similarity to the explosion earlier this month.
Manley said, “There are similarities that we cannot rule out that these two items are, in fact, related.”
The Austin-Travis County EMS tweeted:
Multiple #ATCEMS @Austin_Police @AustinFireInfo onscene of a reported explosion at 4800 block of Oldfort Hill Dr (06:44); 2 pts identified thus far with Medics obtaining DOS pronouncement of late teens Male & ~40’s F txpt’d to DSMC w/serious potentially life threat inj’s. MTF…
— ATCEMS (@ATCEMS) March 12, 2018
FBI agents and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives could be seen going around the neighborhood.
Minutes after Manley’s news conference ended, a separate explosion was reported around 11:49 a.m. in the Montopolis neighborhood. That is located southeast of downtown Austin. That explosion left a woman in her 70’s with “life-threatening” injuries.
The Austin-Travis County EMS said on Twitter:
UPDATE2 reported explosion 6700blk Galindo St (1149): CORRECTION 1st patient is ~70s female and was transported to Dell Seton Medical Seton with serious potentially life threatening injuries, 2nd patient is ~80s female with unrelated medical issue. More to follow.
— ATCEMS (@ATCEMS) March 12, 2018
APD responding to a reported explosion in the 6700 block of Galindo Street. The incident number is 180710681. The call came in as a nature unknown urgent at 11:50 this morning. PIO is en route and will tweet briefing time and location once determined. NOI
— Austin Police Dept (@Austin_Police) March 12, 2018
— Austin Fire Info (@AustinFireInfo) March 12, 2018
It is unknown at this time if the second explosion of Monday is related to the prior two package bombings.
Fire officials said on Twitter that the third explosion also involved a package. All three locations are within about 16 miles of each other.
Manley has described the damage inside the home from the early morning explosion is “significant.” He added that investigators are going to nearby homes to see if any outdoor surveillance footage exists.
Cynthia Burdett, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1999 and close to the home where the explosion took place, said she was in “total shock” and the whole incident was “very scary.”
Burdett said, “I checked my house first of all to make sure nothing was on fire, I did look outside at that point and next thing I knew police were knocking at the door saying that there was a suspicious package, one had exploded and that I needed to leave the house.”
She also said her neighbors are very good neighbors, “church-going” people who are “a very good family.”
Manley said that the explosion resembled the March 2 explosion that killed one man.
Anthony Stephan House, 39 was killed after a “device” exploded on the front porch of his home in the city’s northeast Harris Ridge neighborhood about 12 miles north of Monday’s blast.
Both explosions occurred in the early-morning hours.
House’s death was called a homicide at first but last week police said it was considered a suspicious death.
Officials hadn’t ruled out the possibility the victim may have constructed and accidentally detonated the device himself.
As of Monday, Manley said that case has now been reclassified as a homicide.
No known motive is known at this time, but Manley said both blasts took place at homes of African-American residents. Authorities “cannot rule out that hate crime is at the core of this.”
The explosive device was inside a package Austin police have determined. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to reconstruct the item and learn who may have created it.
Manley said that they’ve determined what the device was, but they aren’t releasing details “to protect the integrity of the investigation.”
🚨If you receive a package that you are not expecting or looks suspicious, DO NOT open it, call 911 immediately. RT- Help us spread this message. 🚨 https://t.co/j9bxbaaBce
— Chief Brian Manley (@chief_manley) March 12, 2018
Manley said, “We will not tolerate this in Austin.”
A second package was discovered near the site of Monday’s explosion and that some residents and media members were evacuated, or pushed farther from the explosion site. Authorities checked whether or not it was another explosive.
The teenager killed Monday was not immediately identified. The second victim remained hospitalized.
South by Southwest music, film and technology festival is drawing in thousands of visitors to the city.