AUSTIN, TX (CBSDFW.COM) –Austin police say that today’s second explosion, and third of the month, is similar to two other previous incidents that happened in that city. The first was on March 2 and the second one, earlier this morning.
The latest victim was identified as a 75-year-old Hispanic female. Manley said she was in critical but stable condition.
The explosion happened in the 6700 block of Galindo Street. Another woman in her 80s experienced an unrelated medical issue, but did not require hospitalization.
“If you know anything about these attacks we are asking that you let us know. We are having innocent people get hurt across this community and it is important that we come together as a community and solve this,” said Austin Police Chief Brian Manley at a briefing Monday afternoon.
“On the first one we did believe it was an isolated incident,” continued Manley. “We had nothing that made us believe in that moment that it was part of anything larger than an isolated incident. Standing here today, having had the two incidents that we have had today and being able to do an initial review of the evidence we have, we do believe these are related.”
Manley addressed the style of the device without specifics. “There is a certain level of skill that is required to put a device like this together successfully and then to have it detonate in the manner in which these are and cause the significant injuries and death that they have,” said Manley.
Manley acknowledged that there were many visitors in town for the South By Southwest Festival and he addressed those concerns.
“It’s not time to panic, but it’s time to be vigilant and it’s time to pay attention,” said Manley. “It’s time to pull together as a city and as a community and solve this. We need the community’s participation: If you see a suspicious package on your porch or somebody else’s, let us know.”
As with the previous two incidents, Manley said that officials do not believe that the package at this latest location was delivered by U.S. Mail or any other delivery services.
Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement on the package bombings and offered a $15,000 reward in the case:
“First and foremost, Cecilia and I offer our thoughts and prayers to the victims of these atrocious attacks,” said Governor Abbott. “I want to assure all Texans, and especially those in Austin, that local, state and federal law enforcement officials are working diligently to find those responsible for these heinous crimes. As the investigation continues, the State of Texas will provide any resources necessary to ensure the safety of our citizens, and quickly bring those guilty to justice.”
To be eligible for a cash reward of up to $15,000, tips must be submitted to Texas Crime Stoppers using one of the following methods:
Call the Texas Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477)
Text the letters “DPS”- followed by your tip – to 274637 (CRIMES)
Submit a web tip through the website
Submit a tip through the DPS Mobile App
All tips are guaranteed to be anonymous regardless of submission type.
Authorities were already investigating a package which exploded inside of an Austin home on Monday, killing a teenager and injuring a woman.
Prior to reports of the third explosion, Chief Brian Manley of the Austin Police Department sent tweets Monday expressing his condolences to the teen’s family while issuing a warning to residents to not open packages that they are not expecting or look suspicious.
Manley said at a Monday news conference that the two previous attacks are believed to be linked because, in each case, the package bombs were left on the victims’ doorsteps and not delivered by a mail service. He stated that the U.S. Postal Service does not have a record of delivering a package to the Austin home where Monday’s first explosion occurred.
“Early this morning, one of the residents went out front, and there was a package on the front doorstep,” said Manley. “They brought that package inside the residence and, as they opened that package — both victims were in the kitchen — and the package exploded.”
A similar blast killed a 39-year-old man on March 2. That explosion occurred about 12 miles north of Monday’s first blast. The first two explosions occurred in the early morning hours. Monday’s second explosion happened in the early afternoon.
Until the cases are cleared, Manley had a message for residents. “If you’ve received a package that you are not expecting that is not from someone that you expected to receive a package from, or for some reason gives you case for concern, then call 911.”
After the March 2 explosion, Manley told a local newspaper that authorities had received several calls reporting the incident. The male victim died at the hospital from his injuries. Police were investigating that incident as a suspicious death, but have now reclassified the case and are investigating it as a homicide.
Investigators do not yet know the motive behind the bombings, but the chief said, “We do know that both of the homes that were the recipients of these packages belonged to African Americans, so we cannot rule out that hate crime is at the core of this, but we’re not saying that that’s the cause.”
Information about the third explosion is still under investigation.
Police said that they do know what type of explosive device was used in the first two explosions, but they are not releasing that information “to protect integrity of investigation.” There have been no possible suspects named in either case. The FBI, ATF and U.S. Postal Service are all helping Austin police in the investigation.