The man who is thought to have been behind a spate of bombings that have rocked the Texas city of Austin is dead after blowing himself up during a confrontation with police. The dramatic event reported took place in the early hours of Wednesday morning. “Sources say the suspect killed himself using an explosive device,” Austin journalist Tony Plohetski wrote on Twitter.
This morning, Austin Chief of Police, Brian Manley reported that the deceased suspect was a “24-year-old white male,” though he later noted that the young man was actually 23.
“We found him in the parking lot of a hotel. We knew how dangerous this situation was given what he had done in our community,” Manley continued, saying that the police were “not afforded the opportunity” to converse with the attacker as he drove away. At that point, the police officers engaged the suspect, resulting in the self-imposed detonation of an explosive device that subsequently killed the suspect.
“As the officers approached the suspect, he detonated a bomb inside his vehicle,” Manley explained, saying that they cannot release the identity of the bomber at this time.
“We believe this individual is responsible for all the incidents that have taken place in Austin,” the chief said. Manley said that one of the officers sustained minor injuries when the suspect detonated his bomb.
“The suspect in the #AustinBombings has been killed after FBI, Austin police tracked him down and engaged him in Round Rock within the last hour, according to state law enforcement officials,” WFAA-TV Channel 8 reporter Jason Whitely posted to Twitter. “A device detonated –which they expected when they pursued him. Then shots.”
Whitely said police are trying to determine whether or not the bomber planted other devices before his death.
Chief Manley urged the public to “remain vigilant” as the investigation continues.
Big question law enforcement likely trying to determine this morning is whether serial bomber left more explosive devices anywhere before he killed himself as FBI, police tracked him down overnight.
— Jason Whitely (@JasonWhitely) March 21, 2018
Prior to the incident, News 4 San Antonio published images that depicted the suspect, dressed in a blonde wig, posting packages at a FedEx mailing center. “He appears to be a white male. Just looks like a regular guy,” a CBS Austin anchorwoman said of the photos during a live newscast.
BREAKING: The Austin bomb suspect is dead following an officer involved shooting and the detonation of another bomb. Below is a surveillance photo of him dropping off package bombs at FedEx. No word on the name of the bomber. #RoundRock #AustinBombings pic.twitter.com/7DZvni8p9U
— Elizabeth? (@TheHopsbride) March 21, 2018
The suspect was reportedly tracked down using a combination of cell phone combination and surveillance footage.
BREAKING: Officials say police traced suspect using mix of cell phone technology, security video, store receipts.
— Tony Plohetski (@tplohetski) March 21, 2018
NBC Los Angeles reported that the confrontation took place “between the Austin PD SWAT team and the individual believed to be connected to the bombings.”
It has a been a terrifying couple of weeks for local residents, with one of the bomb’s involving a tripwire that had been laid on a residential street.
Four of the bomb attacks occurred in the Austin area, with yesterday’s detonating at a San Antonio FedEx center. The first took place on March 2, when a bomb was mailed to 39-year-old Anthony Stephen’s home, killing him instantly. Then, ten days later, on March 12, 17-year-old Draylen Mason was killed and a woman was seriously injured in a package explosion. The third and fourth explosions took place on March 12 and on Sunday, March 18.
In total, two people have been killed and four others injured.
“I’d just like to close with a thought for the families in our community who lost loved ones or had loved ones seriously hurt in these incidents, our heart remains with you as you go through your healing process at your time of sorrow,” Chief Manley concluded. “We stand by you and with you in your time of need.”