A "serial bomber" is targeting Austin: what we know

Texas' capital city was rocked by the fourth bombing this month, which injured two people and which the police chief says was caused by a tripwire and showed "a different level of skill" than the package bombs used in the three prior attacks.

After a fourth explosion in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, police said they think they are dealing with the same person repeatedly attacking the city.

Police said the latest bomb may have been detonated by a trip wire after the two men came upon the device on the side of a road in a residential neighbourhood.

Manley said authorities do not believe a man arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat against a SXSW venue Saturday was involved in the package bombings.

"The person is actually trying to provoke fear and that is made worse by simply not giving information about why", said Robert Pape, an worldwide security expert and director of the University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats.

The victims in those three explosions were African-American or Hispanic. Police have not yet discovered a motive, but have not ruled out the possibility the bombs could be hate crimes.

Manley did the same yesterday when announcing a $100,000 reward for any information that could lead to an arrest - that's in addition to a $15,000 reward being offered by Gov. Greg Abbott's office. "That was likely to anchor the package - because when you use a tripwire - you have to use both sides of it so they probably anchored the package to that - and then anchored the other side of the tripwire", said a spokesperson with ATF.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler declined to say if the increased reward possibly prompted the latest explosion because "there's not enough data to know that".

At a news conference hours after Sunday's blast, which happened around 8:30 p.m., Manley repeated his public warning for people to not pick up or approach suspicious packages. "Any tardies or absences due to this situation will be excused", the district posted on Facebook.

"We are clearly dealing with what we believe to be a serial bomber at this point, Police Chief Brian Manley said, citing similarities among the four bombs".

The latest incident significantly expanded the geography of the attacks-from East Austin to Southwest Austin-and suggests, at least in the latest case, a change from specific targets to more random targets, deepening angst for this city of almost one million people.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

"We will have to determine if we see a specific ideology behind this or something that will lead us, along with our federal partners to make that decision", he said. Two bomb technicians and a bomb canine from SAPD will travel to Austin to help with the investigation of the bombings that have kept Austin on edge.

"No suspect or suspects have been identified at this time", Manley said Monday morning at a press conference in Austin. "So, he could change it right now, and that's why we don't want to focus on just one thing to be careful of". The previous packages were all left at people's homes, authorities said.

Stan Malachowski, who lives about half a mile away, said he heard a loud explosion.

The coalition organized a town hall last week to bring together community members and law enforcement after the first three bombings. None of the three bombs, which were not delivered through normal mail delivery, exploded until it was handled.

The first bombing on March 2 killed Anthony Stephan House, a 39-year-old black man.

  • Jon Douglas