One person dead, one hurt after package explodes inside home

Pauline Gross
March 13, 2018

The first explosion was reported just before 6:45 a single-family home in Central East Austin in the 4800 block of Oldfort Hill Drive, near 51st Street and Martin Luther King Jr.

Police Chief Brian Manley said at a news conference that the latest bombing injured a 75-year-old Hispanic woman. The woman in Monday's incident is said to have suffered potentially life-threatening injuries.

Intially two people were reported injured over scanner, but at around 7 a.m., it changed to one dead at the scene. The package exploded after House opened it.

Investigators said it was possible that the victims were targeted due to their race. And while police are checking with other delivery services, including Amazon, UPS and FedEx, Manley said it appeared the packages were not delivered through traditional services. That explosion occurred about 12 miles north of Monday's first blast. No other details were disclosed and no connection has yet been made to the earlier explosions, but the Austin Police Department is expected to hold another news conference on Monday afternoon.

Authorities urged the public to call police if they receive any unexpected packages. "It's so tragic", Daniel Sledge, one of House's neighbors, recently told KEYE.

The female's injuries were not life-threatening, he said. Manley said the woman who was injured in that attack is a 40-year-old woman who remains hospitalized. Packages should not be touched; instead, Manley said to "go to the back of the residence and stay there" until law enforcement arrives to clear the area.

After Monday's explosion, investigators have reclassified House's death from a suspicious death to a homicide.

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In all three cases, packages were left on a doorstep during the night and residents found them in the morning.

Both cases are now being looked at as being related, according to Manley, who says there are similarities of the two incidents. A March 2 blast killed a 39-year-old African-American man.

Authorities have not said whether that blast was also caused by a package bomb or if the victim, like those hit in the two confirmed bombings, is black.

In the midst of the city's annual South By Southwest festival, Austin, Texas has been rocked by a series of deadly and seemingly connected package explosions. Manley said in both cases, the suspect delivered the packages during the nighttime, and the victims found them in the morning on their doorstep.

"It's not time to panic, but it's time to be vigilant and it's time to pay attention", said Manley.

His department is working with the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to determine whether the three bombs were similar and to identify the person, or people, who built them. "Every stop will be pulled out".

Other reports by GizPress

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