A package bomb has exploded at a residence in the city of Austin in Texas, killing a 17-year-old boy and seriously injuring a woman in the second such attack this month. A third explosion has also been reported.
The incidents on Monday began at 6:44 a.m. CT when emergency services were called to a residence in the 4800 block of Oldfort Hill Drive. Upon arrival, they found a 17-year-old boy who was pronounced dead at the scene and a woman in her 40s who was seriously injured.
“What we understand at this point is that earlier this morning, one of the residents went out front and there was a package on the front doorstep,” police chief Brian Manley said. “They brought that package inside the residence and, as they opened that package, both victims were in the kitchen and the package exploded.”
The U.S. Postal Service said it had no record of a delivery at the home, indicating that the package may have been placed by the suspect. Police are still checking with a number of companies to rule out a delivery by a third party.
The attack came just over a week after a package bomb exploded at a residence about 8.5 miles (13.6 kilometers) north of Tuesday’s blast. A man, identified as 39-year-old Anthony House, was killed when he opened a package that was left at his doorstep.
Police had previously said that the explosion on March 2 was an isolated incident, but investigators now believe that both attacks are linked. Both local and federal law enforcement, including the FBI, are investigating.
The motive for the killings was not immediately known, but Chief Manley said at a press conference that both homes are owned by African Americans. He added that a hate crime cannot be ruled out, although he emphasized that other possibilities are also being considered.
Hours after Monday’s attack, at 11:50 a.m., an explosion was reported at a home in the 6700 block of Galindo Street, which is located in the city’s southeast. A woman about 70 years old suffered serious and potentially life-threatening injuries, according to Austin-Travis County EMS.
It was not immediately clear whether the explosion was caused by a package bomb, but a large number of emergency services – including the bomb squad and the FBI – have responded to the scene. Streets in the area have been closed and a number of residents have been evacuated.
As a result of the attacks, police have urged people to be on alert. “If you find any suspicious packages on your front porch at your residence, do not handle them but instead call 911 and let us come out and take a look at those packages and ensure that they are safe,” Manley said.
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