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Bombs detonate around Austin


Star file photo

Updated: March 22, 9:45 p.m.
Mark Anthony Conditt was tracked down by authorities with the help of surveillance footage from many Austin area hardware stores.
The surveillance footage at a Home Depot showed Conditt buying bomb supplies and then walking to his car, where the camera showed his license plate.
Authorities were able to locate the accused’s cell phone which was turned off and therefore untraceable. When Conditt turned his cell phone back on early Wednesday morning, authorities were able to locate him back to a hotel in Round Rock, Texas.
A 25 minute confession video, recorded by Conditt on a cell phone, was found by authorities.
He does not at all mention anything about terrorism, nor does he mention anything about hate” Manley said. “Instead it is the outcry of a very challenged young man talking about challenges in his personal life that led him to this point.”
The video has not been released at this time. Conditt’s two roommates were both questioned by authorities. Neither roommate has been arrested.

Updated: March 21, 11:30 a.m.
A suspect in the bombing investigation died in a car bomb early in the morning on March 21.
Brian Manley, Austin Police Department interim chief of police, said that information about a suspect was being traced back to a hotel in Round Rock, Texas.
“Within the past 24 to 36 hours, we started getting information on one person of interest,” Manley said. “This person of interest ultimately moved to being a suspect.”
Early in the morning on March 21, a SWAT team began to surround the hotel in Round Rock. The suspect drove away before the SWAT team could act.
The suspect was followed by officers onto Interstate 35 where the suspect pulled over into a ditch between Sam Bass Road and Old Settler’s Boulevard. A bomb detonated inside the car, killing himself and knocking one SWAT officer back.
Mark Anthony Conditt has been confirmed as the suspect by Victor Gonzales, the mayor of Pflugerville. Conditt was a resident of Pflugerville, just northeast of Austin and had been tracked down by authorities through cellphone tracking, store receipts and video surveillance. The investigation is ongoing.

Updated: March 20, 10:06 p.m.
Ely Reyes, Austin Police Department assistant chief, confirmed that the seventh bomb at the Goodwill on Brodie Lane was not related to the other bombings.

An employee was taking out a box of items left at Goodwill that were not wanted without realizing the bomb was among the items in the box.
“Upon looking inside of it, it had two small devices that were artillery simulators that looked like some type of military ordinance or memento” Reyes said.
Reyes said the military memento was an accidental detonation that was most likely set off because the previous owner did not know how disarm it.

Updated: March 20, 9 p.m.
The sixth incident did not involve detonation of a bomb, but was reported by Austin police officials as an incendiary object. It was found March 20 at approximately 6:20 a.m. on McKinney Falls Parkway near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. According to authorities, it had the potential to detonate. Authorities intercepted the bomb before detonation.
The seventh bomb detonated March 20 at approximately 7 p.m. near Slaughter Lane and Brodie Lane in Southwest Austin. There was a report of a loud boom near a Goodwill. A Goodwill employee was taken to the hospital with potentially serious injuries according to Austin-Travis County EMS according to KVUE Austin.

Five bombs have exploded in four different locations around the Austin since March 2, with an ongoing investigation leaving questions for many in the Austin area community.
The first bomb detonated on March. 2 near Howard Lane in Northeast Austin. Anthony House, 2008 Texas State graduate, was the first person killed by the bombings.
The second bomb detonated on March 12 near MLK Boulevard and Texas State Highway 183 killing Draylen Mason, senior at East Austin College Prep. Mason was an active bassist and was recently accepted to the University of Texas and the University of North Texas after auditioning for their music programs.
Both House and Mason were African-Americans with relatives of prominent members of Austin’s African-American community according to Nelson Linder,the Austin NAACP president.
The third bomb detonated on the same day as the second, injuring a 75-year-old Hispanic woman who is in critical but stable condition.
An attempted bombing was unsuccessful after Trevor Ingram, 2015 Texas State graduate, was arrested for a terroristic threat at a SXSW 2018 for The Roots on E. 5th Street near Interstate-35. The arrest was made late on March 17 after Ingram had emailed the concert organizers with a bomb-threat.
The fourth bomb detonated on March 18 shortly before 8 p.m. near Southwest Parkway and Mopac Expressway. Two men were injured and taken to an Austin hospital but are in good condition as of Monday morning.
These were the first victims impacted by the bombings that were not people of color. The fourth bomb was also detonated after Ingram’s arrest.
The first three bombs came during SXSW 2018, sparking concerns that the bombs were related to festival goers. All four bombs were placed away from SXSW events and the fourth bomb detonated as the festival was wrapping up, suggesting that this is an unrelated string of events. There is no confirmation at this time if the string of bombings is related, or if Ingram is involved in the four detonated bombings.
The fifth bomb detonated in Schertz, Texas early March 20 at a FedEx facility. The San Antonio suburb explosion is thought to be linked to the bombings in Austin according to FBI San Antonio spokeswoman Michelle Lee. No injuries were reported.
Sheriff Gary Cutler of Hays country is encouraging anyone to call 911 to report any suspicious person or vehicle that they observe in their neighborhood, or any suspicious packages.
Residents of Cabana Beach Apartments in San Marcos reported a suspicious package at building 5. The residents of the top floor of the building evacuated, but no bomb was found. The complex was not notified and cannot confirm at this time. The Sheriff encourages residents to continue to report anything they determine strange.
According to the Hays County Sheriff’s office, the following are some indicators of suspicious packages.

  • Packages wrapped in string or twine
  • No postage, non-cancelling postage or excessive postage
  • Leaks, stains, strange odors, or protruding wires, string or electrical tape
  • Nonsensical or no return address
  • Handwritten addresses or labels from companies (check to see if the company exists and if this company sent you a package or letter)
  • Foreign writing, addresses or postage
  • Badly typed, handwritten or misspelled name and address
  • Handwritten notes such as: “To Be Opened in Private” “Confidential” or “Prize Enclosed”
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  • Photo Courtesy of Breaking 911.

  • Photo courtesy of Kristie Gonzales, KVUE Austin.

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