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Austin explosion may have been triggered by tripwire, police say

An explosion that injured two men Sunday night could've been triggered by a tripwire, said Austin Police Chief Brian ...

Posted: Mar 19, 2018 12:52 PM
Updated: Mar 19, 2018 12:52 PM

An explosion that injured two men Sunday night could've been triggered by a tripwire, said Austin Police Chief Brian Manley, after a fourth blast in the Texas city in little over two weeks.

Authorities are working under the belief that the latest incident is connected to the previous three explosions in the city, Manley said. At this point, information is preliminary, he said early Monday morning, and police have yet to fully process the scene.

Manley said "it's very possible" that the device "was activated by someone either handling, kicking or coming into contact with a tripwire that activated the device."

Latest developments

  • The package on Sunday was left on the side of the road.
  • The two injured men were either biking or pushing bicycles when the explosion occurred.
  • Police are waiting for daylight to process the scene.
  • Residents living near the scene have to stay indoors until 10 a.m.
  • Hours before the latest blast, the chief appealed directly to whoever was responsible for the bombs.

Chief advises further caution

The two men, in their 20s, were taken to a hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries, authorities said. Both patients are in good condition, a spokesperson at St. David's South Austin Medical Center told CNN.

Sunday's incident differed from previous explosions, the police chief said.

"We're not believing that this was similar to previous ones, as in packages left on doorsteps. But instead this was some type of suspicious package that was left on the side of the road, that detonated and injured these two men," Manley said.

The two men had been biking or walking their bicycles in southwest Austin when the explosion happened.

"What we do understand now, is that the possibility exists this device was triggered in a different mechanism -- that being a tripwire," he said.

Police and the FBI responded to the scene Sunday.

The latest explosion comes less than a week after police said three package explosions that happened over 10 days were connected. Those explosions killed a man and a teenager, and injured two others.

The victims in those three explosions were African-American or Hispanic. Police have not yet discovered a motive, but have not ruled out the possibility the bombs could be hate crimes.

Police are working under the belief that the explosions are related. Manley said they'll get a better idea with a post-blast analysis and examination of the device components.

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

On Monday morning, he warned: "We now need the community to have extra level of vigilance and pay attention to any suspicious device -- whether it be a package or a bag, a backpack -- anything that looks out of place. And do not approach items like that."

Resident: 'It's concerning'

Stan Malachowski, who lives about half a mile away, said he heard a loud explosion.

"It was loud enough to hear inside of our house with our windows and door shut. Again, airplanes go by and cars backfire so we didn't think much of it," he told CNN affiliate KXAN.

"This is a quiet neighborhood. It's a family neighborhood. It's concerning."

Police warned residents in the immediate area to stay inside their homes until at least 10 a.m. Regents School of Austin, a nearby private school, will open two hours late Monday for "a complete security sweep," it said in a statement.

The Austin Independent School District announced that it would not be able to send school buses into the affected Travis Country neighborhood Monday, because of police activity. "Any tardies or absences due to this situation will be excused," the district posted on Facebook.

On edge

Many in Austin have been on edge since the bombings, as some residents of color in the Texas capital say they feel under threat.

The reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the three explosions increased to a total of $115,000, authorities had announced earlier Sunday. Hours before the most recent explosion, the police chief appealed directly to the person or persons responsible.

"We believe that the recent explosive incidents that have occurred in the city of Austin were meant to send a message," Manley had said in a press conference.

"We hope this person or persons is watching and will reach out to us before anyone else is injured or anyone else is killed out of this event," he added.

Officials have urged residents to call in with tips to the police department, even if the information is seemingly "inconsequential."

South by Southwest wrapped up Sunday, but received a bomb threat Saturday, that resulted in the cancellation of a concert featuring The Roots.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 113876

Reported Deaths: 3238
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7850176
DeSoto685779
Harrison505083
Jackson445084
Rankin388186
Madison377993
Lee350779
Forrest299578
Jones287784
Washington255199
Lafayette245943
Lauderdale2418134
Lamar221238
Bolivar200177
Oktibbeha199354
Neshoba1831111
Lowndes176362
Panola169038
Leflore165187
Sunflower159749
Warren153655
Monroe147372
Pontotoc145819
Marshall139227
Lincoln138557
Pike137756
Copiah136236
Coahoma124736
Scott124729
Grenada121138
Yazoo120733
Simpson120449
Union116525
Tate114939
Leake114340
Holmes114160
Pearl River112259
Itawamba112125
Adams106743
Prentiss103719
Wayne99821
Alcorn98112
George97718
Covington95326
Marion93542
Tippah88121
Newton85227
Chickasaw83626
Tallahatchie83025
Winston82821
Tishomingo80041
Hancock79827
Attala78926
Clarke73450
Clay68321
Jasper67717
Walthall63627
Calhoun61912
Noxubee59617
Smith58916
Montgomery53523
Claiborne53316
Tunica52817
Yalobusha51914
Lawrence50714
Perry48623
Carroll47612
Greene46918
Stone46214
Humphreys42616
Amite42113
Quitman4196
Jefferson Davis40011
Webster37013
Wilkinson33520
Benton3255
Kemper32015
Sharkey28014
Jefferson27410
Franklin2373
Choctaw2046
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 155915

Reported Deaths: 2674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22861374
Mobile14468314
Tuscaloosa10148139
Montgomery9875196
Madison915094
Shelby720462
Lee649665
Baldwin647569
Marshall433049
Calhoun418960
Etowah418749
Morgan403635
Houston369232
DeKalb330229
Elmore314852
St. Clair287142
Limestone276530
Walker272293
Talladega261035
Cullman235724
Lauderdale214841
Jackson210015
Autauga202330
Franklin202131
Colbert196731
Russell19233
Blount189325
Dallas186227
Chilton184132
Escambia171929
Coffee171710
Covington169929
Dale165451
Chambers133643
Pike132313
Tallapoosa130587
Clarke130017
Marion106229
Butler100140
Barbour9979
Marengo99222
Winston91313
Geneva8527
Pickens82417
Lawrence82131
Randolph81216
Bibb81114
Hale74930
Clay72912
Cherokee72614
Lowndes70328
Monroe64010
Henry6396
Bullock63717
Washington63412
Crenshaw60230
Perry5836
Wilcox56212
Fayette56113
Conecuh55713
Cleburne5438
Macon52920
Sumter47021
Lamar4665
Choctaw38812
Greene34216
Coosa2023
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