five bombs have gone off in the Austin area this month (a sixth bomb was defused); they seemed to target people of color.
Austin police say that they closed in on a suspect today, and that the suspect seemingly deliberately suicided by blowing up a bomb as they prepared to enter a hotel where they had him cornered.
The dead man was named Mark Conditt, a 24 year old white man who lived with father, with whom he was remodeling a house. Conditt's bombs are variously described as sophisticated or crude, and police say that his Google search history revealed that he researched the addresses that were targeted by bombs.
It's not known whether more bombs have been planted around Austin or elsewhere.
Four bombs have exploded in Austin since March 2, killing two men and injuring four people. A fifth bomb exploded early Tuesday at a FedEx sorting facility in Schertz, about 60 miles southwest of Austin. A package containing what was believed to be an unexploded bomb was found Tuesday at a FedEx distribution center in Austin. Authorities believe the FedEx packages were sent from the FedEx retail store in Sunset Valley.
If all of the bombs originated with the same person, the use of FedEx represented a major shift in the bomber’s methods and a major break for authorities. The first three Austin bombs were left overnight on doorsteps and were not delivered by commercial delivery services, authorities have said. The fourth bomb was left next to a street in a residential subdivision and was triggered by a trip wire strung over a sidewalk.
THE INVESTIGATION: Neighbor drew map of bombing suspect’s home for FBI [Tony Plohetski, Mark D. Wilson and Mary Huber/Austin Statesman]