Thursday, April 18, 2024

Suspected Austin terrorist cornered, kills self

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PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (Reuters) – An unemployed 23-year-old white man suspected of a three-week bombing campaign in Texas that killed two African-American people and injured five others blew himself up on the side of a highway today.

The suspect was identified as Mark Anthony Conditt of Pflugerville, Texas. A series of bombings beginning on March 2 left Austin, a fast-growing city of 1 million people, on edge as the bomber moved from parcels left on doorsteps to one activated by a trip wire to at least two sent via FedEx.

By Sunday, bewildered investigators had publicly asked the serial bomber to reach out to them. By Tuesday they had identified a suspect, Texas Governor Greg Abbott told media.

Police tracked him to a hotel about 20 miles (32 km) north of Austin and were following his vehicle when he pulled to the side of the road and detonated a device, killing himself, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told reporters near the scene.

“The suspect is deceased and has significant injuries from a blast that occurred from detonating a bomb inside his vehicle,” Manley told reporters. He declined to further identify the suspect, except to say he was white.

Law enforcement officials did not respond to calls seeking to confirm the suspect’s name.

“We’ve known for a couple of days who the suspect likely was,” Abbott told Fox. “Law enforcement is at his house in Pflugerville where we are learning whether or not that was the location he was making his bombs.”

The governor added that the suspect is believed to have lived with two roommates, who are not currently considered suspects, and was not a military veteran.

Public records showed that Conditt lived with his parents, William and Danene Conditt, until 2017, when he moved into a house about a mile (1.6 km) away.

U.S. President Donald Trump congratulated authorities on Twitter: “Great job by law enforcement and all concerned!”

The first three devices were parcel bombs dropped off in front of homes in the Austin area. A fourth went off on Sunday night, apparently detonated with a trip wire also around Austin, and a fifth exploded inside a FedEx Corp (FDX.N) facility in Schertz on Tuesday.

FedEx officials provided “key evidence” that led to the suspect’s identification, the company told employees in an internal memo seen by Reuters on Wednesday. (Reuters)

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