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Austin bomber dead: What we know now about the Texas bombings

This story has been updated.

A suspect in the string of bombing attacks in Austin died early Wednesday, police said.

The 24-year-old white male, who law enforcement officials told the Associated Press has been identified as Mark Anthony Conditt, killed himself inside his car with an explosive device.

» RELATED: Austin bombings: Dead suspect identified as 24-year-old man

Since the bombings began on March 2, five suspicious package explosions, including one involving an Austin-bound package at a San Antonio FedEx facility, killed two and injured multiple others.

William McManus, the San Antonio police chief, had said Tuesday morning that a second device that had not detonated was later found in the same area as the FedEx package. However, the Washington Post reported, a spokesman for his department later said that McManus “misspoke” when making those statements.

Investigators said they believe the San Antonio package may be connected to the four blasts in Austin since March 2.


Police described the string of explosions as the work of a “serial bomber.”

» RELATED: Trump says 'it's not easy to find' culprit in first public comment on Austin bombings

Here’s what we know about the bombings so far:

The suspected bomber is dead.

According to CNN, law enforcement received information in the past 36 hours directing them to the man, who ultimately became a suspect. Police say the 24-year-old white male suspect killed himself in his car with explosives.

As SWAT teams approached his vehicle near a hotel in Round Rock, Texas, just north of Austin, the suspect detonated a bomb. Officials did not say whether the suspect was staying at the hotel.

A SWAT officer, CNN reported, fired his weapon at the suspect but “it’s unclear whether the officer shot the suspect.” One officer was treated for minor injuries.

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley believes the 24-year-old is responsible for all the incidents in Austin.

“We know when he bought some of the components...It was fairly recently,” Fred Milanowski, special agent in charge with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told the Austin American-Statesman. “We are fairly comfortable there is (no threat) out in the open there,” Malinowski said.

» RELATED: Austin bombings Q&A: What are the distinctive traits of a serial bomber?

The bombings began March 2.

The first bombing occurred on March 2 on Austin’s Haverford Drive and killed Anthony Stephan House, a 39-year-old African-American man.

Draylen Mason, a 17-year-old African-American male, was killed in the second bombing on the morning of March 12. Mason’s 41-year-old mother was also critically injured in the same explosion.

A third explosion later that day severely injured Esperanza Herrera, a 75-year-old Hispanic woman who on Sunday was “still fighting for her life,” Manley said.

» RELATED: Austin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony House

In the fourth blast, two men in Austin were injured Sunday while riding or pushing their bicycles as packaged explosives detonated nearby.

Manley told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Monday that Sunday night's explosion was detonated by a tripwire and showed "a different level of skill." The attack differed from the three earlier blasts in Austin this month, which were caused by package bombs left on people's doorsteps.

A fifth package exploded early Tuesday at a FedEx facility in  the Schertz suburb of San Antonio, leaving a FedEx team member with minor injuries.

» RELATED: Photos: Austin police investigate explosions

“The working theory right now … is that that was a package that was in the shipping center destined for Austin,” Manley told the Austin City Council Tuesday morning.

William McManus, the San Antonio police chief, had said Tuesday morning that a second device that had not detonated was later found in the same area as the FedEx package. However, the Washington Post reported, a spokesman for his department later said that McManus “misspoke” when making those statements.

As of Tuesday, police received 1,257 calls and 420 suspicious packages, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

A bomb scare Saturday led to an arrest and the cancellation of a highly anticipated South by Southwest concert.

On Saturday night, a bomb scare led to the cancellation of the highly anticipated The Roots concert. Later that night, 26-year-old Trevor Weldon Ingram was arrested and charged with emailing the threat.

Ingram faces up to 10 years in prison on charges of making a terroristic threat, but police said they do not think he is connected to the earlier bombings.

» RELATED: Man held in SXSW threat ruled out as bomb suspect, police say

Police still don’t know the motive behind the bombings.

Authorities still aren’t sure whether the suspect, now dead, acted alone or what his motive was.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, more than 500 agents from the FBI, police and Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms are involved in the investigation.

» RELATED: Police first focused on drug case in Austin bombings. They were wrong.

Because of the previous victims’ races, police haven’t yet ruled out the possibility of hate crimes. The men injured in Sunday's blast, however, were white, unlike the victims of the first three bombings, who were black or Hispanic.

The first three explosions also detonated in the eastern part of Austin, areas with predominantly black and Hispanic residents.

Is it terrorism?

The White House issued a statement Tuesday saying that it sees no “nexus to terrorism” in the Texas bombings, prompting backlash from hundreds on social media.

“Clearly, in terms of the impact [in Austin], it’s the essence of terror,” Ami Pedahzur, professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin told City Lab. But, she said,  “For academic purposes, we look at the motivations of the perpetrator, and these should be political agendas that are being manifested through acts of terrorizing populations. In this case, we have to wait and see what motivated the individual. But in terms of the impact, it’s clearly terrorizing.”

Here’s how the Austin Police Department defines terrorism, according to the official city government site:

 

“Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government or its citizens to further certain political or social objectives. Law enforcement generally recognizes two types of terrorism: domestic and international. Domestic terrorism is based and executed in the United States by our own citizens without foreign direction. International terrorism, which is connected to foreign governments or groups, transcends our nation’s boundaries. Terrorist acts against U.S. citizens can occur anywhere in the world.”

There was a $115,000 reward for information leading to arrest.

Following the fourth bombing on Sunday, Austin police announced a $50,000 increase to the previous $50,000 reward offered in exchange for information leading to an arrest of the bomber behind the deadly explosions.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott added an additional $15,000, bringing the total reward amount to $115,000.

“We’re hoping to encourage you to come forward with the addition of this tip money that’s now available,” Manley said. “The person or persons understand what that message is, and is responsible for constructing or delivering these devices, and we hope this person or persons is watching and will reach out to us before anyone else is injured or killed out of this even.”

Trump was briefed on the bombings.

According to CNN’s Allie Malloy, President Donald Trump was briefed on the Austin bombings. White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters the White House pledged its support to local law enforcement.

When the bombing suspect was announced dead, Trump took to Twitter to congratulate law enforcement.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump spoke about the Texas bombings for the first time since the attacks began three weeks ago.

“These are sick people and we have to find them as soon as possible,” he said. “We have to find them, really, immediately.”

Police are still warning residents to continue to be cautious about suspicious packages.

Though the suspect is now dead, Manley urges residents to be vigilant as they don't know where the bomber has been in the past 24 hours and whether or not he sent additional packages.

“If you see something suspicious please dial 9-1-1,” Austin police tweeted last week.

The bombings have tapped into tensions over Austin’s racial segregation.

“We know that if these bombings would have happened on the west side, there would have only been one. They would have locked down the community and made sure it wouldn’t happen again,”  Fatima Mann, the executive director of Counter Balance: ATX, an activist organization that works with low-income and minority groups in the city, told the Washington Post.

The city is divided by Interstate 35, which runs north through the heart of the state capital. The first three explosions this month occurred on the east of I-35, home to black and Latino residents historically.  Sunday night's explosion happened on the other side, in the southwestern Austin residential neighborhood of Travis Country. 

And according to the Washington Post, the Austin Police Department took days to inform the public that the March 2 package explosion killed 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House. His death was initially classified as a “suspicious death, not a homicide.”

» RELATED: Inheriting inequality: A series from the Austin American-Statesman

“We can’t rule out that Mr. House didn’t construct this himself and accidentally detonate it, in which case it would be an accidental death,” Assistant Chief Joseph Chacon said at the time, a statement that brought criticism from Austin residents.

“I apologize the department put that out there because that was not appropriate,” Manley said in response to the outrage. “It may have been something that needed to have been evaluated, but it’s not something that needed to be said publicly.”

Three members of the Congressional Black Caucus also called for officials to classify the bombings as terrorist attacks, CNN reported.

"We cannot stand idly by while our communities are under attack. This has become a national security issue and the full investigative force of the federal government must be focused on stopping these attacks,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement.

Following the death of the 24-year-old bombing suspect, Austin Mayor Steve Adler commended law enforcement for the hard work and also said that after spending time in the areas where the bombs exploded, “he hopes that Austin can come together to form stronger community ties,” the Austin American-Statesman reported.

“As a community we need to do a better job of knowing the people that live across the street,” he said. “If there’s a takeaway from this, it’s that we can be and should be a better community if we get to know each other better.”

According to a series by the Austin American-Statesman, the Texas capital has some of the highest rates of income segregation in the nation.

The series also found that years of housing discrimination limiting African-Americans’ ability to own property in Austin still impacts the demographic today.

Read the full series at projects.statesman.com.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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