In a fifth bombing to hit the state of Texas, a package with ‘nails and pieces of metal’ headed to Austin exploded in a FedEx facility near San Antonio, injuring one person.
The employee was taken to the hospital to treat a mild injury.
Via the Daily Mail: The package detonated as it was moving from one conveyor belt to another and the female staff member, who was not hit by the contents, was treated for a headache, possibly caused by a concussion.
Federal agents say the package is likely linked to four other attacks this month in Austin, some 80 miles north-east of San Antonio, that have left two dead and four injured.
Authorities say a ‘serial bomber’ is at large and have warned that the devices appear to be getting more sophisticated.
Just hours after the package explosion in San Antonio, emergency crews were called to a FedEx facility in Austin following reports of a suspicious package. There were no immediate details available about that incident.
Local news reports that the parcel had shrapnel made up of ‘nails and pieces of metal.’
Two days prior to this explosion, a bomb went off in Sunday night and was triggered by a nearly invisible tripwire. Authorities said this suggested a ‘higher level of sophistication’ than what has occurred in the three earlier package bombs, which were left on doorsteps.
This serial bomber is terrorizing Austin in a random set of attacks, making it harder for authorities to identify the motive and suspect.
FBI Special Agent Michelle Lee said although it is still early in the investigation, it was likely all five bombings are related.
She didn’t have details about the size, weight or description of the package that exploded.
It comes as President Donald Trump was criticized for his silence over the Austin bombings, where most of the victims have come from the city’s historically black and Latino neighborhoods.
Unlike other attacks, such as the Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida, which Trump was quick to label an act of terrorism, the president has remained silent about the Austin bombs.
The first two bombs killed black men and investigators believed that the third, which injured a 75-year-old Latina woman, may have been intended for a black family’s home – raising the possibility they were a hate crime.
Shortly after police made a public plea to the bomber to explain his motives, the trip wire bomb went off and injured two white men on a sidewalk.
This set of events has placed the Austin city on edge due to the randomness of attacks.
‘We’re clearly dealing with what we expect to be a serial bomber at this point based on the similarities,’ Austin police Chief Brian Manley said.
Manley said the latest attack, which injured the two white males, appeared ‘random’ and was triggered by a tripwire – raising the possibility the bomber has sophisticated knowledge.
‘A trip wire doesn’t necessarily suggest a military background,’ Manley said.
‘But it suggests that the suspect or suspects we are dealing with have a higher level of sophistication than we believed, as they’re changing their methods to a more difficult device.’
The identities of the two men injured on Sunday have been concealed and authorities have only stated they were in their 20s.
William Grote told The Associated Press on Monday that his grandson was one of them and that he had what appeared to be nails embedded in his knees. Police described the men’s injuries as significant, and both remained hospitalized in stable conditions.
Grote said his grandson was cognizant but was still in a lot of pain. He said on the night of the bombing, one of the victims was riding a bike in the street and the other was on a sidewalk when they crossed a tripwire that he said knocked ‘them both off their feet.’
‘It was so dark they couldn’t tell and they tripped,’ he said. ‘They didn’t see it. It was a wire and it blew up.’
Residents in the Travis Country area were ordered to stay in their homes until late on Monday. Police kept residential streets on lockdown as they gradually expanded their barricades and closed off all roads into the neighborhood.
Before daybreak on Monday, Austin police pushed another alert to cellphones advising residents to continue staying indoors and to call 911 if they needed to leave their homes in the morning.
Authorities repeated prior warnings about not touching unexpected packages and also issued new ones to be wary of any stray object left in public, especially ones with protruding wires.
‘We want to put out the message that we’ve been putting out and that is, not only do not touch any packages or anything that looks like a package, do not even go near it at this time,’ Manley said.