Three package bombs have killed two people and severely injured one in Austin, Texas, in past 10 days.
An unexpected package was recently delivered to a house in Oldfort Hill Drive. Little did the residents know it contained deadly explosives. The package detonated upon opening and a 17-year-old boy lost his life. A 40-year-old woman also acquired non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to the hospital.
Hours later, another explosion was reported in the 6700 block of Galindo Street.
“The call came in as a nature unknown urgent at 11:50 this morning,” the police department tweeted.
A Hispanic woman in her 70s received life-threatening injuries in the blast.
Investigators believe these explosions resembled the incident that took place earlier this month and killed a 39-year-old man in his northeast Austin home. It was previously classified as a suspicious death, but after the recent attacks, the investigation has now been categorized as a homicide.
Further elaborating on the speculation, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley pointed out the packages delivered in all three of these cases were not sent through the U.S. Postal Service, as it did not have any record of making deliveries to the Austin homes.
The fact all these incidents, where the packages were left at the doorstep, happened in early morning hours further strengthens the link between the occurrences.
Pertaining to the motive behind the bombings, victims' races do give a certain sense of direction. The first two victims were African-American whereas the last one was a Hispanic woman.
“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,” Manley said.
However, some resident strongly believes these incidents are triggered by hate, which puts all minority communities in danger.
*whispers very loudly* Hate crimes should be treated more seriously than other crimes because they terrorize a community. It's the difference between vandalism, assault, or murder, or vandalism, assault, or murder that sends a deliberate message of "THIS COULD BE YOU NEXT."— Alexandra Erin (@alexandraerin) March 13, 2018
Two bomb explosions in Texas this month w/fatal consequences. I'm literally just now hearing about this. Police suspect the bomb attacks are racially motivated as each of the victims are Black.— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@MuslimIQ) March 12, 2018
Why is media silent on this terrorism? I wonder.??https://t.co/1OIFzXGECk
Another conjecture under consideration by the police is the fact the annual South by Southwest festival, the biggest event of the year in Austin, is around the corner and someone is trying to create an atmosphere of tension and terror in the city.
"Safety is and always has been a top priority for SXSW," a festival spokesperson said. "We continue to work with law enforcement and our venues to address the safety of SXSW attendees. At this time the Austin Police Department does not believe that the incidents are connected to the event. The substantial security operation already in place for SXSW has been instructed to be extra vigilant."
To facilitate the Austin investigators, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting the authorities in the city.
To attain some ground in the case, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has set out a reward of up to $15,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person or people involved in the package bombs.
In the wake of the explosions, the police chief also urged everyone to be cautious.
.@chief_manley advising everyone in Austin to be cautious if they receive a package ?? and weren't expecting one. If you see something suspicious please dial 9-1-1 so we can send officers out to assist you. #safety#austinpd#atxpic.twitter.com/hA7Tv0bT0E— Austin Police Dept (@Austin_Police) March 12, 2018
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Sergio Flores