In the midst of the city’s annual South By Southwest festival, Austin, Texas has been rocked by a series of deadly and seemingly connected package explosions. Two separate blasts were reported in the area around East Austin on Monday morning, with the first killing a 17-year-old boy and injuring a woman, and the second injuring another woman and possibly a second individual, according to investigators on the scene. Along with a first explosion on March 2nd, which killed a man just north of Austin, CNN reports the authorities are now trying to determine whether or not all three incidents are connected.
According to CBS Austin, early Monday morning a resident in East Austin found a package outside the house and brought it inside. When the resident, a 17-year-old African-American male, opened the package in the kitchen, it exploded — killing him and injuring a woman. The third blast occurred just south of the river a few hours later, injuring another woman a package delivered to the location was opened. Per CNN, Austin Police have determined that the targeted properties are all owned by African-Americans, and they’re therefore trying to determine whether these are a hate crimes.
Just before news of the third package explosion made the rounds, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told reporters near the scene of the second blast that it and the March 2nd incident were being investigated as connected events. “That case was being investigated as a suspicious death,” he said. “It is now being reclassified and is now a homicide investigation as well. We are looking at these incidents as being related based on similarities that we have seen in the initial evidence that we have on hand here today compared to what we found on the scene of that explosion that took place a week back.”
None of the packages were delivered to their respective locations via any known mail services. As a result, Austin Police are asking that anyone in the city who finds anything “delivered” to their doorstep not by USPS, FedEx, UPS, or any other major mail carrier report it immediately to the authorities.