Monday Explosions Jar Austin
If you see an unmarked package, quickly call 911
By Sarah Marloff,
4:10PM, Mon. Mar. 12, 2018
The Austin Police Department is warning residents not to open any unexpected or suspicious packages after two explosions took place today, Mon., March 12, at two private residences. The first bomb went off this morning in East Austin, killing a 17-year-old man and injuring another woman.
Several hours later, APD responded to a second explosion on Galindo Street in Southeast Austin, which injured a 75-year-old woman. Today’s bombings are similar to a March 2 incident that killed Anthony Stephan House after he opened an unmarked package at his house on Haverford Drive.
During a press conference this afternoon, Police Chief Brian Manley confirmed that APD believes the incidents are related and is asking residents to be hypervigilant of unexpected and/or unmarked packages. In the case that residents are confronted with such a package, Manley instructed people to call 911 immediately. Packages should not be touched; instead, Manley said to “go to the back of the residence and stay there” until law enforcement arrives to clear the area.
Due to a high level of calls, Manley noted that it may take officers a little while to arrive, but he said “we will respond.”
As of now, APD has not assigned a motive to any case and Manley said APD is not ruling anything out in order to not limit the investigation. However, since the first two victims were black, and the 75-year-old woman was Latina, APD is also not ruling out that the attacks could be classified as hate crimes.
The U.S. Postal Service, which is one of many organizations partnering with APD in what Manley expects to be a lengthy investigation, has confirmed that these packages were not sent from their offices. Mayor Steve Adler, City Manager Spencer Cronk, and members of the FBI joined Manley for today’s press conference, though only Manley spoke.
The ongoing South by Southwest festivities will not interfere with APD’s investigation, and additional agencies including the Department of Public Safety have offered their services. Manley concluded his announcement with another reminder to not panic, but “be aware.” He implored anyone with additional information to come forward. If you see a package, he reiterated: "Do not move it, do not touch it, call us.”
This story has been updated. The 75-year-old woman in Southeast Austin did not die, as initially reported.