PFLUGERVILLE, TX (CBSDFW.COM) – The suspect in the Austin bombings is dead after a Wednesday morning incident along Interstate-35 in Round Rock, according to FBI and law enforcement sources. Investigators still do not have a motive for the violence and police have evacuated up to six blocks around Austin bombing suspect Mark Anthony Conditt’s home.
Early Wednesday afternoon the Department of Justice released information “that a federal criminal complaint and an arrest warrant were filed last night against 23–year-old Mark Conditt.” The filings, that happened before Conditt detonated the destructive device that killed him, had charged him with one count of Unlawful Possession and Transfer of a Destructive Device.
CBs 11 News spoke to two experts about Conditt’s possible motive:
CBS 11’s Jason Allen reported late Wednesday morning that the FBI had moved more agents around the home in Pflugerville, where Conditt was believed to have possibly orchestrated his attacks. Later FBI were seen backing away from the house.
Police were seen getting ready to bring what looked like a bomb robot out of one of the law enforcement vehicles. They later found other devices, which according to police used the same components as found in the bombs used to kill two people and injure four others.
Based on what they found, during the initial search of the house, police told CBS 11 they were asked by the FBI to “start preparing to evacuate people.” Officials said that includes the houses in the area and some city offices around the corner.
Police and FBI agents located the suspect’s car at a hotel in Round Rock on Tuesday night. They were watching over him as he left the hotel early Wednesday morning. Authorities started to pursue the vehicle, but the suspect appeared to discover that he was being followed. He pulled over to the side of the highway.
As officers approached the vehicle, the suspect detonated a bomb inside of his car, taking his own life in the process.
One police officer also suffered significant injuries in the explosion. His current condition is not known.
Chief Brian Manley with the Austin Police Department confirmed that the suspect was killed in the blast. He was identified, though not officially by authorities, as 23-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt of Pflugerville. He is believed to be the person responsible for all of the package bombs in Austin dating back to March 2.
Conditt was a former student at Austin Community College. Records show that he attended classes from 2010 to 2012, but did not graduate. Communications official Jessica Vess said Conditt has not attended the college since that time. The school is now working with the Austin Police Department to provide any possible information.
The social media footprint of Conditt appears to be very small. He did not leave much of an online trail, save for personal blog posts made in 2012, where he expressed his opinions on a variety of topics. He believed that sex offender registeries should be eliminated and that gay marriage should be illegal.
Conditt’s other listed hobbies included cycling, tennis and listening to music.
Two people were killed in the Austin explosions. The first incident left a 39-year-old man dead while the second explosion, on March 12, took the life of a 17-year-old man. A third explosion also took place on March 12, and the fourth blast happened this past weekend. Four people were also injured in these explosions.
“We don’t know if he was on his way to deliver another bomb, but we know he had one on him,” Manley added.
The first three packages were simply left on the doorsteps of homes in Austin while the fourth package was placed in an Austin neighborhood and detonated with a tripwire. But it was the most recent incident, an explosion at a FedEx distribution facility in Schertz, northeast of San Antonio, that led investigators to the suspect.
A package containing nails and pieces of metal blew up along an elevated conveyor belt at the facility. Officials traced that box back to a FedEx store along Brodie Lane in Austin. Using surveillance camera footage, cell phone signals, receipts and witness accounts of a car description, investigators were able to locate the suspect.
In that security camera video, the suspect is seen wearing gloves and a disguise. Still, authorities were able to use the footage to track down Conditt. Officials have not said what mailing addresses were on the package bombs that were shipped from the FedEx store.
It is believed that the suspect worked alone, Gov. Greg Abbott stated Wednesday, adding that Conditt had no known military experience or a criminal record. It is not clear, he said, if the bombs were made at the suspect’s home or at the hotel where he was located.
It does not appear as though anybody will collect the $115,000 reward which had been offered for information that led to the suspect’s arrest. Everyone in the Austin area seems to agree that the alleged bomber was found, and this case was solved, as a result of some remarkable police work.
While the suspect is dead, authorities cannot confirm that more package bombs were not already placed into circulation prior to Wednesday morning. This means that people should remain cautious, officials stated, and continue to be on the lookout for suspicious packages. Anything strange should be reported to police.
The freeway and service road along Interstate-35 in Round Rock, heading southbound into Austin, remain closed Wednesday morning while local, state and federal investigators are on the scene.
“It’s been a long three weeks for the community of Austin. We’ve seen people lose their lives and lives forever changed,” added Manley on Wednesday morning. “For the families who lost loved ones and those who suffered injuries, we stand with you in your time of need.”