The suspect in a series of bombings that terrorized Austin, TX, this month left a video confessional on his cell phone, Austin police Chief Brian Manley said. The 25-minute video detailed the challenges the young man faced but didn’t provide any clues as to why he took the actions he did or why he targeted his victims.
“It is the outcry of a very challenged young man talking about challenges in his life that led him to this point,” Manley said. “I know everybody is interested in a motive and understanding why. And we’re never going to be able to put a (rationale) behind these acts.”
The man has been identified as 23-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt and police say he made the video while police were closing in on him. Conditt’s cell phone was found in his position at the time of his death. On the video Conditt reportedly says he would have continued the attacks if police hadn’t tracked him down.
Authorities say Conditt was identified with receipts, internet searches, witnesses and FedEx store videos that showed him dropping off packages to be delivered days earlier. In one of those videos Conditt appears to be wearing gloves.
Law enforcement officials were able to trace Conditt to a hotel in Round Rock, TX, a city just north of Austin. They followed Conditt when he left the hotel early Wednesday until he pulled over on Interstate 35. As SWAT officers approached his vehicle, Conditt detonated a bomb, knocking one of the SWAT officers back. The officer sustained minor injuries. A second SWAT officer fired his gun at Condit. It’s unclear whether he struck him.
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 FedEx sorting facility near San Antonio, Texas. That explosion involved a package that was sent from Austin to Austin. Authorities believe Conditt to be responsible for all of the incidents.
Conditt lived in Pflugerville, TX, a city northeast of Austin. His family, through a statement, said they were “devastated” by the knowledge that Conditt was responsible. “Our family is a normal family in every way. We love, we pray, and we try to inspire and serve others,” the statement read. “Right now our prayers are for those families that have lost loved ones, for those impacted in any way, and for the soul of our Mark. We are grieving and we are in shock.”
“Please respect our privacy as we deal with this terrible, terrible knowledge and try to support each other through this time,” they added.