Police warn of 'suspicious' packages as explosions rock Austin, Texas

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Austin: Emergency officials in Austin, Texas, were grappling with the mistery of another exploding parcel on Monday, the third such incident in two weeks - and the second of the day.

On March 2, a 39-year-old man in north-east Austin was killed after a package on his front porch exploded, police said.

Early on Monday, police responded to a similar package explosion at a home on the east side of the city.

Upon arrival, police found two injured victims inside the home: One, a 17-year-old male, later died, while the other, an adult female, was taken to the hospital with injuries. Police said that incident was being investigated as a homicide.

Then, shortly before noon, local time, police responded to a third explosion, this time on the south-east side of the city.

Austin-Travis County EMS said on Twitter that a patient - a woman in her 70s - was taken to a hospital "with serious potentially life threatening injuries."


Austin Police Chief Brian Manley warned residents to avoid opening unexpected packages.

"If you receive a package that you are not expecting or looks suspicious, DO NOT open it, call 911 immediately," he tweeted.

Authorities had said they believe the first two explosions are linked.

Both took place in the morning hours, and in both cases, the package was not delivered through the US Postal Service or commercial courier companies, authorities said.

In addition, both of the homes belonged to African Americans, Manley told reporters.

"So we cannot rule out that hate crime is at the core of this; but we're not saying that that's the cause as well," the police chief said.

Manley, who reportedly was on the scene of Monday's first explosion when he was called to the second, said local and federal law enforcement agencies would ensure "every stop would be pulled out" to solve the cases.

"We are not going to tolerate this in Austin," he said.

The American Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it was dispatching members of its National Response Team (NRT) to help respond to the explosions.

According to the agency, this group activates for "significant fire and explosion incidents," considered those that are either large in scale or particularly complicated due to the size or scope. In the past, that has included responding to a string of church fires in Texas; and the bombings in Oklahoma City and at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

The FBI field office in San Antonio also said it was assisting Austin police with the investigation.

Austin is currently holding South by Southwest, a two-week-long festival of film, music, technology and ideas.

Washington Post