The suspect in a series of bombings that have terrorized Austin, TX, is dead, authorities say, blowing himself up with an explosive device as law enforcement authorities closed in on him. The suspect’s death brings to a close a spate of bombings that left two people dead, several injured and a city on edge since the beginning of the month.
Authorities say a series of tips led investigators to a person of interest who eventually became a suspect in the attacks. Over the past thirty-six hours, surveillance teams located the suspect’s vehicle at a hotel in Round Rock, TX, a city north of Austin. As authorities staked the location out, the vehicle left the hotel. Police followed until it pulled over on Interstate 35 and as SWAT officers approached the vehicle, the suspect detonated an explosive, knocking one of the SWAT officers back. The officer sustained minor injuries.
A second SWAT officer fired at the suspect. It’s unclear whether he was struck.
The bomber, described only as a 24-year-old white male, suffered “significant injuries from a blast that occurred from detonating a bomb inside his vehicle,” Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said at a news conference later. Police still don’t know what the attacker’s motive was in the attacks.
In three initial incidents earlier this month, authorities say packages were left on doorsteps of residents’ homes in the overnight hours and then exploded when residents retrieved them in the early morning hours. All three were hand-delivered and not sent through the U.S. Postal Service or private carriers.
A fourth incident involved two men riding bicycles who hit a tripwire, triggering a bomb placed by a nearby fence, and a fifth explosion took place at a Federal Express sorting facility near San Antonio, Texas. That explosion involved a package that was sent from Austin to Austin. Authorities believed it to have been related to the others.
President Trump tweeted his praise this morning. “AUSTIN BOMBING SUSPECT IS DEAD. Great job by law enforcement and all concerned!” he wrote.
Maloney urged caution and asked residents to remain alert noting that authorities did not know where the assailant had been in the last twenty-four hours and whether additional packages were sent. He did however, strike a note of relief that the suspect had been brought to justice.
“This is the culmination of three very long weeks in our community,” he said.