Austin bombing suspect dead after blowing himself up in confrontation with police

Austin bombing suspect dead after blowing himself up in confrontation with police

Local media in Texas were reporting early Wednesday that a bombing suspect had killed himself with an explosive device.

The Austin American-Statesman reported that local police had located the suspect using a mix of cellphone information, security video and store receipts.

Authorities identified the suspect based largely on security video and other evidence gathered when the suspect shipped an explosive device from a FedEx store in Austin, the newspaper reported. They used cellphone technology to trace the suspect to a hotel in Williamson County, a source told the newspaper.

Late Tuesday night an explosion in Austin caused by an “incendiary device” was said to be unrelated to previous bombings in Texas that have killed two people and severely wounded four others since March 2, police and federal authorities said.

Someone dropped off a box containing an “artillery simulator” at an Austin Goodwill location that detonated, injuring an employee and triggering a bomb scare.

Austin assistance police Chief Ely Reyes says there was “no reason to believe” the Tuesday blast was a copycat incident.

Tuesday’s victim was a Goodwill Industries employee who was “being treated for non-life-threatening injuries,” the Austin branch of the nonprofit tweeted. The man, in his 30s, was looking in a donation bin at the time of the blast, Austin’s KVUE-TV reported.

According to a Goodwill employee speaking to the outlet, the victim was talking with someone about safety when the suspicious item was found. While trying to dispose of it, an employee handled one of the artillery simulators and it went off, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

The individual suffered injuries that were “potentially serious, not expected to be life-threatening,” the county’s EMS tweeted. Paramedics rushed him to a hospital. The victim was treated and released from care, a spokesperson from St. David’s South Austin Medical Center told the American-Statesman.

Reyes said such military items are sometimes mistakenly donated to Goodwill rather than being properly disposed of. Austin Goodwill spokeswoman Valerie Swift was crying when she told Fox News: “Senior Goodwill executives and law enforcement are investigating.”

Goodwill Austin tweeted that out of “an abundance of caution for our Team and customers, all Goodwill Stores will be closed.” The duration of the closures was unclear.

The Houston division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, along with FBI San Antonio said they were working with Austin police in the investigation.

At least five other explosions have rocked the Austin and San Antonio areas in recent weeks.

Earlier Tuesday, a package exploded on a conveyor belt at a FedEx shipping center in Schertz, northeast of San Antonio, injuring a worker. Also Tuesday, the FBI said a suspicious package reported at a FedEx distribution center near the Austin airport “contained an explosive device.”

Authorities said the two packages were connected to four earlier explosions that have occurred in the state throughout March.

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told the Associated Press he was informed by federal authorities that investigators have obtained surveillance videos in Austin that “could possibly” show a suspect in the package bombing at the FedEx distribution center near San Antonio.

McCaul said he was briefed by the FBI, ATF and Austin police on the situation and added that he hoped the bomber’s “biggest mistake was going through FedEx.”

The detonated package bomb at the Schertz facility was reportedly sent by the same person, and from the same mail delivery office, as the suspicious package later located at the FedEx location in Austin, according to U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, who spoke to the American-Statesman.

The two packages were reportedly sent from a mail delivery office in Sunset Valley, an Austin suburb south of downtown.

Fox News’ Maggie Kerkman and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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