At least two people have been killed and several more injured in a series of packaged bombs that have been left at victims' homes across Austin, Texas, including two on 12 March 2018:
Police blocking roads near 2nd package explosion of the day @KVUE pic.twitter.com/eqsz6RvURD
— Christy Millweard (@ChristyM_KVUE) March 12, 2018
Law enforcement in Austin says that the explosions appear to be related and may be racially motivated:
Investigators believe a package bomb that killed a teenager and wounded a woman in Austin on Monday is linked to a similar bombing that killed a man elsewhere in the city this month, and they’re considering whether race was a factor because all of the victims were black.
A woman in her 70s was injured in one explosion, and a teenager was killed in another:
This is the second reported explosion in Austin Monday, March 12. The first happened in Central East Austin at a home where a suspicious package was left on the doorstep of a single-family residence. A 17-year-old boy was killed, and a woman in her 40s was injured.
On 2 March 2018, a north Austin man in his 40s was killed by a similar bomb. According to reports, Austin police have identified him as Anthony Stephan House.
The deaths are being investigated as homicides:
APD briefing regarding explosion in the 4800 block of Old Fort Hill Drive. https://t.co/gY2yyu5aOY
— Austin Police Dept (@Austin_Police) March 12, 2018
On 13 March 2018, the Washington Post reported that the two people killed were connected:
“Are you trying to say something to prominent African American families?” said Freddie Dixon, stepfather of Anthony Stephan House, the 39-year-old killed in the first explosion on March 2. “I don’t know who they’ve been targeting, but for sure, they went and got one of my best friend’s grandson. Somebody knew the connection.”
Dixon said he is good friends with Norman Mason, whose grandson was the teenager killed in the explosion early Monday morning. The teenager has not been formally identified by police, though they say that could come Tuesday. Mason’s wife, LaVonne, confirmed that her grandson was the 17-year-old victim but declined to comment further.
A 75-year-old woman who was critically injured by a third blast may have received the package in error:
Police have said they are not sure if the devices that detonated had all reached their intended targets. The most recent package to detonate injured an elderly Hispanic woman who was visiting her mother’s home — but it was addressed to a different home nearby, according to two people familiar with the investigation. The woman who was injured may have been walking the package over to that address when it detonated, these people said.
This suggests that the explosive was not necessarily aimed at the injured woman, who has been identified by her relatives as Esperanza Herrera. The other two bombs killed people whose families have ties, and one of those victims’ relatives said he did not know of any connections to Herrera.
Meanwhile, law enforcement is warning residents of Austin not to open any suspicious packages.