Friday, 16 November, 2018

Deadly Austin Package Bombs That Killed 2 May Be Motivated By Hate

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Ivan Hill | 14 March, 2018, 06:11

Law enforcement personnel including Federal Bureau of Investigation agents are seen near a home that was hit with a parcel bomb in Austin, Texas, U.S., March 13, 2018. The Austin Police Department said officers will respond to any suspicious package call. House was the stepson of Freddie Dixon, a former pastor at a historic black church in Austin, the Post said.

After two more explosions happened Monday, police were criticized for not warning Austin residents to be on the lookout for suspicious packages. But it was not clear how they might be tied to a third household where a package bomb also exploded. None turned out to be a threat.

The bombings could be a hate crime, considering the victims are all black or Hispanic, or they could have been targeted for some other reason, considering two of the three families affected reportedly knew each other through activism in the local black community.

Dixon is good friends with Norman Mason, the grandfather of the teen killed on Monday, and he doesn't believe the attack was merely by chance. The teen died almost two weeks after 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House was killed by a similar package. "It's not just coincidental", Dixon said.

The police are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.

Austin police initially thought the first bombing was an isolated incident, but they now believe all three blasts may be connected.

Authorities say they plan to hold a news conference Tuesday afternoon to provide an update on the probe, but there have been no significant changes.

Jay Brewer, 52, an African-American security guard, lives a few doors down from the 17-year-old boy who was killed. Hours later, a 75-year-old Hispanic woman was critically injured after she picked up a package on her front porch.

Austin police have received 265 calls about suspicious packages, Manley said Tuesday, though police haven't indicated any subsequent check revealing anything alarming. He subsequently appeared to back off that idea while still saying that authorities have not ruled anything out.

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Police continue to warn any residents that find a suspicious package to call 911, and to send tips to Austin Crime Stoppers at (512) 472-8477 or Texas Crime Stoppers at 1-800-252-8477. "I want everyone in my community, if they see something that's suspicious - a package or otherwise - I want them to pick up the phone and call 911".

A package bomb left on a doorstep in Austin killed a man March 2.

The three package bombs have exploded at homes in the Texas capital over 10 days, killing two people and injuring two others.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and other USA agencies are helping local police link the bombs to a suspect.

Police in Austin, Texas were searching Tuesday for a bomb maker as the United States city remained on edge following a series of explosive packages sent to homes, killing two people.

Police have said there is no link between the parcel bombing and the festival, but urged visitors to be vigilant.

Investigators collecting evidence continued to come and go, and yellow police tape still marked off the sites of Monday's two blasts, which occurred about 5 miles apart.

All the victims were minorities, and investigators are looking into whether race was a factor. Authorities since have backed off initial suggestions that hate crimes could be a core cause, however, the Associated Press reported.

Two of the bombings in Austin took place during the South by Southwest festival of movies, innovation and music that draws about half a million people to city, many to celebrate the latest technology developments.

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