Police suspect 'serial bomber' in deadly Austin attacks

Paul Sullivan

But the latest incident displays a sudden shift in tactics, said Brian Manley, the interim Austin police chief.

A deadly serial bomber has struck in Austin for what appears to be the fourth time this month, frightening residents and prompting police to put a neighbourhood in the Texan capital into lockdown.

Authorities say an explosion in an Austin, Texas, neighborhood Sunday has similarities to three previous blasts in the metro earlier this month.

But later that night another bomb seriously injured two more people, deepening the mystery - and the alarm. However, the fourth explosion has thrown authorities for a loop. Both men are in good condition at the hospital, according to a spokesperson for St. David's South Austin Medical Center, but do have significant injuries.

"What we have right now is a scene where it is obvious that an explosion has taken place", Manley said at a hastily organized news conference near the site of the latest blast. Adler says the concern now is that "the methodology has changed".

The wave of bombings began on March 29 when Anthony Stephan House, 39, died after a package exploded on the porch of his Austin home.

"The device's success, despite significantly different design, further suggests that the bomb maker behind these attacks is an accomplished one, and has likely to have received some training, perhaps as a military or police explosive ordnance disposal technician".

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus is sending two bomb techs and a bomb-sniffing dog from the San Antonio Police Department bomb squad to Austin to help with the investigation.

Austin, with a population of almost 1 million people, is home to the University of Texas and a plethora of tech companies and has been one of the fastest growing major USA cities.

- 600: Calls that Austin police have responded to for suspicious packages since the second and third blasts happened March 12. Manley also asked anyone with surveillance cameras at their homes to make the footage available in case suspicious vehicles or people could be seen. Classes were resuming Monday after a week off. Two white men in their 20s were injured in the blast but are expected to be OK.

None of those incidents were close to the university's sprawling campus near the heart of Austin.

The latest explosion was caused by a tripwire, which poses new fears for law enforcement.

A bomb last Monday morning killed Draylen Mason, a 17-year-old African-American teenager.

Zero questions related to the Austin attacks have been posed to White House officials during daily press briefings since the attacks, according to transcripts.

While the first three bombings all occurred east of Interstate 35, a section of town that tends to be more heavily minority and less affluent, Sunday's was west of the highway.

Authorities have warned Travis Country residents to remain indoors until 10 a.m.as police scour the area for anything suspicious.

In the meantime, Manley told residents not to touch or go near anything that looks suspicious.

There have been three explosions since March 2, 2018 that killed two people and wounded two others.

Austin ISD said in a Facebook post that its school buses will be unable to go into the neighborhood Monday Any tardies or absences due to the situation will be excused, the district said.

Police said they were increasing the reward offered for information leading to an arrest, bringing the total city and state bounty money to $115,000.

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