Three package bombs left on Austin-area doorsteps this month were constructed with a “certain level of skill,” the city’s police chief said Tuesday.
The intense manhunt remains underway as authorities continue their search for the secret porch bomber whose explosives have already killed two people and injured several others. During a recent appearance on “Fox & Friends,” Austin Police Chief Brian Manley also urged residents to remain vigilant as they fetched their mail this week.
“What we do know is that the individual or individuals involved in this, these suspects, they do have a certain level of skill to be able to construct a device like this and then deliver that device to your target without having it explode, either during construction or delivery, does take a certain level of sophistication,” Manley said, adding that FBI officials are still working to collect evidence from the latest two blasts.
One of the explosions occurred in the early morning of Monday, March 12 when 17-year-old Draylen Mason carried a package left outside his home into the kitchen where it exploded upon opening, killing the honor student. A 40-year-old woman was also gravely injured in the bombing. Both victims were African-American.
Hours later, police were called to the scene of yet another explosion involving the opening of a packing. The second blast injured an elderly Latina woman Esperanza Herrera, 75, who was taken to a local hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries.
Both explosions are believed to be linked to a March 2 blast that killed an African-American man. Police have identified that victim as 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House.
All the victims so far have been minorities, raising questions into whether race was factor in the blasts. Authorities since have backed off initial suggestions that hate crimes could be a core cause, however, the Associated Press reported.
“We are not ruling anything out at this point,” Manley said at a press conference.
Monday’s explosions unfolded as thousands arrived to partake in the popular South by Southwest Music Festival. Manley told “Fox & Friends” he doesn’t believe the gathering could be related to the recent blasts.
On Tuesday, Austin Police said they received 150 calls about suspicious packages, none of which turned out to be dangerous. Still, residents are advised to remain cautious and report any unexpected packages.