Three package bombs that exploded in Austin, Texas, over 10 days — killing a teenager and a 39-year-old man and critically injuring an elderly woman — appear to be connected, police said Monday.
Here’s what we know so far:
• Two of the explosions happened within hours of each other Monday, sending police scrambling from one crime scene to the next. The first blast happened March 2.
• The bombs killed a 39-year-old African-American man on March 2, killed a 17-year-old African-American male early Monday morning, and severely injured a 75-year-old Hispanic woman midday Monday. A woman hurt in the Monday morning explosion had non-life threatening injuries, police said.
• The residents found the packages outside their houses, but none was delivered by the Postal Service or delivery services like UPS or FedEx, police said.
• Police also have not decided if these are hate crimes, but said that’s a possibility because of the victims’ races.
• “The evidence makes us believe these incidents are related,” Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said.
The packages were placed in front of the residents’ houses, the chief said.
In describing the blast that killed the teenager, Manley said: “One of the residents went out front and there was a package on the front doorstep. They brought that package inside the residence and as they opened that package, both victims were in the kitchen, and the package exploded, causing the injuries that resulted in the young man’s death and the injuries to the adult female.”
Neighbors described house-rattling experiences.
“It shook my house and it shook my body,” Isaiah Guerrero told CNN affiliate KXAN of the explosion that injured the elderly woman. Guerrero said he climbed onto his roof, where he could see police walking up to one of his neighbors’ homes. “From that angle, you could actually see the house that got the package sent to them.”
Anna Marie Castillo said she lives five houses from that blast site. She was at work but quickly contacted her parents, who told her they saw the victim in the yard covered in glass and covering her face with her hands.
Castillo’s parents said they carried blankets to her because the explosion ripped off some of her clothing, she said.
“It’s really scary and hits really close to home,” Castillo said. “I’m worried to look in the mailbox.”