A new explosion today in Austin, Texas has raised peoples’ fears of a serial bomber. There are suspicions that it was activated via a tripwire, and the sophistication and patterns involved in the series of now four explosives that have been detonated in the last few days have alarmed both law enforcement and the general public.
Here are the bombings, thus far:
The first bombing: A package bomb killed Anthony Stephan House, a 39 year old African American man. He was the stepson of a former minister, and civil rights advocate. It exploded on the morning of March 2nd. Neighbors were unaware that it was a bomb, suspecting a possible gas explosion.
The second bombing: A second package bomb was detonated inside of a house, killing 17 year old Draylen Mason, an African-American student and member of a youth orchestra. He was the grandson of a prominent African-American dentist. The bomb also seriously injured a woman who was in the building. It detonated March 12th, at 6:44 AM.
The third bombing: The same morning, at 11:50, Esperanza Herrera, a 75 year old Hispanic woman was injured in a third package explosion while visiting her mother’s home.
The fourth bombing: This bombing took place March 19th at 8:30 PM. Two men in their twenties were injured by an explosive device left on the road. The men were operating bicycles, and apparently set off a tripwire, with this explosive not being contained in a package, instead left near a fence in the open. This indicates that this explosion was possibly a random attack.
There is some speculation as to whether the attacks have been racially motivated, or whether the victims bear some connection to the perpetrator, as the victims of the first and third bombing had some common associations. At this point, the bomber has not come forward with any information as to the reason for the attacks, and the authorities have openly asked those responsible to come forward and “reach out to us before anyone else is injured or killed.”
The initial three packages all involved cardboard packages, left on front doorsteps, and all were delivered at night by someone connected with the bombing, not through any mail carrier. The police chief has said that the bomber, or those who constructed the devices, must possess “a certain level of skill” in order to construct bombs capable of being detonated one moved, but inert until their delivery.
Police have speculated that the pattern of the bombings, and premeditation, mean that there is likely some link that can be determined, and that perhaps even surveillance footage could help catch the perpetrator. In the mean time, police are urging people to stay indoors, and not open any unexpected packages.
Staff writer: Ari B