Austin bomber blows self up; fears of more explosives remain

The suspect in a string of bombings in Austin is dead, interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley confirmed early Wednesday.

The name of the suspect, described only as a 24-year-old white man, has not been released, pending notification of his family, Manley said.

Although police are still investigating the possibility of accomplices, he said, “we believe this individual is responsible for all of the incidents in Austin.”

Manley urged the community to remain vigilant for possible other explosives, adding that “we do not know where (the suspect) has been in the past 24 hours.”

Police have not identified a motive for the string of bombings, Manley said.

Investigators identified several leads but the case really broke in the past 24 to 36 hours, the chief said.

He described how authorities tracked down the suspect’s vehicle to a Round Rock-area hotel. Police began following the suspect’s vehicle, and as SWAT approached, the suspect detonated a bomb in the car, Manley said.

One officer was treated for minor injuries.

“We know when he bought some of the components…It was fairly recently,” said Fred Milanowski, special agent in charge with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“Fortunately we were able to do some digging and find this individual over the past 48 hours,” he said.

Milanowski described the device used in the car as a “significant explosive device,” but did not provide any other details.

He said the suspect was in the parking lot of the hotel, which has been swept by technicians and bomb-detection dogs.

“We are fairly comfortable there is (no threat) out in the open there,” Malinowski said. He did not say if the suspect was staying in the hotel.

Malinowski also commended the collaboration among all the law enforcement elements involved.

“We’ve had serial bombing cases in the past 20 years so law enforcement has gotten better but really it was the partnerships that came together,” he said. “Everyone was dedicated. There were people that were working 17 hours a day because they wanted to catch this person.”

Four bombs had exploded in Austin since March 2, killing two men and injuring four people. A fifth bomb exploded early Tuesday at a FedEx sorting facility in Schertz, about 60 miles southwest of Austin. A package containing what was believed to be an unexploded bomb was found Tuesday at a FedEx distribution center in Austin. Authorities believe the FedEx packages were sent from the FedEx retail store in Sunset Valley.


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