Local

Austin bombing suspect dead, caution still urged

AUSTIN, TX - UPDATE: 6:50 p.m. Austin Police Chief Brian Manley stated in a press conference, “We have, at this point, located a recording that the suspect in this incident made. It is about a 25 minute recording where he talks about what he has done. I would classify this as a confession.”

Manley goes on to say, “Having listened to that recording, he does not at all mention anything about terrorism, nor does he mention anything about hate. But instead, it is the outcry of a very challenged young man talking about challenges in his personal life.”

In addition, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on Twitter, “In my time [as] 12 years as attorney general [of Texas], and 3 years as governor, I have not seen a better job than what we have seen from this police chief and the Austin police force.”

UPDATE: 6:06 p.m. Explosives have been removed from the Pflugerville home of Mark Anthony Conditt.

Austin police said they detained and questioned Conditt's two roommates. The department says it won't release their names at this time because they are not under arrest. One roommate has already been released.

ATF says it's difficult to say what his roommates knew since each of them had a separate room inside the house.

Officials also have a presence at Conditt's parents' house a few blocks away. They confirmed his family is cooperating and that the family expressed condolences to the victims. 

UPDATE, 4:57 p.m. Residents have been evacuated from downtown Pflugerville west of Railroad Avenue and north of Pecan Street as heavily armored agents are surrounding the Austin bombing suspect's Second Street home.

In a 4 p.m. update, Pflugerville Police Chief Jessica Robledo said the perimeter will shrink to west of Railroad Avenue, north of Walnut Street and east of Second Street. 

Police are telling residents and media to stay away from the area. Police have been gradually backing the media up this morning as concern grows about what may be contained in the suspect's home.

Displaced residents can stay at the Pflugerville Community Library at 1008 Pfluger St. or the Pflugerville Recreation Center on Bohls Loop until 9 p.m. Wednesday. 

UPDATE 3:21 p.m. Explosives experts from the FBI and ATF have been working to safely remove and dispose of homemade explosives located inside a house at 403 Second Street North in Pflugerville.

In an abundance of caution, Pflugerville Police and the Texas Department of Public Safety evacuated residents in a four block radius-from North Railroad Avenue to City Park Road and north of West Pecan Street.

Pflugerville City Hall remained closed and residents were asked to stay clear of the area as agencies worked.

The FBI and ATF, in partnership with the Pflugerville Police Department, have been working to mitigate any potential hazards to nearby residents.

UPDATE: 1:53 p.m. State troopers, ATF and FBI are in the area of Second Street and Walnut Street in Pflugerville and confirm Conditt's house is nearby. A SWAT vehicle drove up before 10 a.m. and media were asked to move away from the area.

Around 11:22 a.m. police on scene said they planned to evacuate homes in a 4 to 6 block radius around the suspect's house. The Pflugerville Police Department evacuated people from downtown Pflugerville west of Railroad Avenue and north of Pecan Street around 11:50 a.m.

Law enforcement has not confirmed whether Conditt made the bombs at his home.

Austin police said they detained and questioned Conditt's two roommates. It says it won't release their names at this time because they are not under arrest.

Officials also have a presence at Conditt's parents' house a few blocks away. They confirmed his family is cooperating and that the family expressed condolences to the victims. Austin police will also bring in a bomb-sniffing K-9 and other resources to the home.

UPDATE: 1:15 p.m. Officials have revealed that a federal criminal complaint and arrest warrant were filed Tuesday night against 23-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt of Pflugerville in connection with the recent series of bombings in Austin.

Those filings occurred before Conditt detonated a device in his car as authorities were attempting to take him into custody in Round Rock.

Conditt died during the incident.

The federal complaint charged Conditt with one count of unlawful possession and transfer of a destructive device.

The complaint affidavit remained under seal as of early Wednesday afternoon with the investigation continuing. 

UPDATE 8:45am:  Investigators have identified the serial bombing suspect as Mark Anthony Conditt, and say he died this morning after detonating a bomb in a car in a Round Rock parking lot as law enforcement moved in.

TXDOT reports southbound I-35 was closed in Round Rock and was expected to be closed several hours after the incident, with motorists heading to Austin urged to look for alternate routes to get into the city and to allow considerable extra time to get to their destinations.

Caution was still being urged regarding packages as it was not immediately known if any potentially dangerous devices might still be outstanding.

Reporters from Fox-44 sister station KXAN in Austin remained on the scene Wednesday morning and reported the suspected Austin bomber was dead after detonating a bomb inside a car on Interstate 35 and after a SWAT officer fired at him, quoting Austin Police Department Chief Brian Manley.

"This is the culmination of three very long weeks in our community," Manley said, 

The explosion happened on Interstate 35 in Round Rock near Old Settlers Boulevard around 2 a.m. Wednesday. Investigators had recently identified a 24-year-old white man as a person of interest and then a suspect, and found the vehicle he was known to drive at a hotel in Round Rock.

Law enforcement took up positions around that hotel and was waiting for APD's tactical team to arrive to take the suspect into custody when he started to drive away. Officials followed, and the man pulled to the side of southbound I-35.

When SWAT approached, Chief Manley says the man detonated a bomb, which knocked one SWAT officer back and gave him minor injuries.

Another officer who is an 11-year APD veteran fired at the suspect. He will be placed on administrative duty, per APD policy.

The suspect died and had "significant injuries" from the bomb, Manley said. His name won't be released until the medical examiner identifies him and his next-of-kin is notified. Officials do not yet have a motive for the bombings but say they believe he is connected to all of them since March 2.

Police activity has centered in the parking lot of a Red Roof Inn at 1990 N. I-35, just south of Chisholm Parkway.

(from KXAN reports)


More Stories

Latest News