Deadly Austin parcel bomber was trying to send message: police



AUSTIN: The person, or people, responsible for three parcel bombs that killed two people in the Texas capital this month was trying to send a message and should contact authorities to explain any motive, Austin police said on Sunday.

More than 500 federal agents have joined Austin police in the homicide investigation of the bombings that have killed two African-American males and left a 75-year-old Hispanic woman fighting for her life in blasts that took place in three separate neighborhoods.

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said authorities were still trying to find the ideology behind the related attacks that have spread fear through the city. Police were also investigating the bombings as possible hate crimes.

“We believe that the recent explosive incidents that have occurred in the City of Austin were meant to send a message,” Manley told a news conference.

“We are not going to understand that (message) until the suspect or suspects reach out to us to talk to us about what that message was,” he said.

Authorities know how the bombs were constructed and the materials used to make the powerful devices. The three parcels were dropped off in front of the homes and did not come from a commercial delivery service, police have said.

The first bombing on March 2 killed Anthony Stephan House, a 39-year-old black man. It ripped a hole in a home entrance wall and damaged the front door.

A bomb last Monday morning killed Draylen Mason, a 17-year-old African American teenager and promising musician. It also injured his mother. A few hours later, a third bombing injured the 75-year-old Hispanic woman, who has not been named by police.

Police have received more than 735 calls about suspicious packages since the three parcel bomb attacks, but authorities had not found any that posed a security risk, Manley said.

A reward of $115,000 has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible.

Claudia Munoz, 28, a stay-at-home mother who lives on the same block as the 75-year-old bomb victim, has told her children not to go near any package.

“I don’t understand why this is happening,” she said last week. “Hopefully this gets solved fast because we can’t let this happen to another family.” —Reuters