Emergency vehicles sit in front of a FedEx distribution center where a package exploded, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, in Schertz, Texas. Authorities believe the package bomb is linked to the recent string of Austin bombings.
A package headed for Austin exploded at a FedEx facility in Schertz, just northeast of San Antonio, early Tuesday morning, injuring one employee. Federal authorities say they believe the incident is related to the string of four bombs that have rocked Austin this month.
MAJOR INCIDENT SCHERTZ TEXAS AREA. This is what we have gathered unofficially: Shortly after 12 midnight, a package destined for Austin, Tx detonated at the FedEx distribution facility located at 9935 Doerr Lane. The package was said to have contained nails and shrapnel.
The package blew up inside the facility’s sorting area at about 12:30 a.m., according to the Schertz Police Department. Details are pretty scarce right now, but FBI agent Michelle Lee told the Associated Press that “it would be silly for us not to admit that we suspect it’s related” to the four Austin bombings that have left two dead and four injured in March.
Austin mayor Steve Adler told Spectrum News that he believes the incident seems to be related to the Austin bombings after talking with investigators, and Austin police chief Brian Manley said in a statement Tuesday morning that his department “is aware of the incident” in Schertz and “is working closely on the investigation” with federal authorities. “I want to continue to remind our community to pay close attention to any suspicious device whether it be a package, a bag, a backpack or anything that looks out of place, do not approach it,” Manley said. “Call 911 immediately.”
Mayor Adler: After speaking with officials, this one in #Schertz seems to be related/hopefully it’ll provide a missing piece to the puzzle. [re: how does this new explosion change the direction of the investigation?]
— Spectrum News Austin (@SpecNewsATX) March 20, 2018
Tuesday morning’s explosion came two days after a trip wire triggered a bomb that injured two men in Southwest Austin. On March 12, two separate packages exploded, one killing 17-year-old Draylen Mason and injuring his mother at their East Austin home, and the other injuring a 75-year-old woman in Southeast Austin. Anthony Stephan House was killed on March 2 when a package exploded at his home in Northeast Austin. Manley said after the fourth bombing on Monday that this looks to be the work of a serial bomber.
Police originally said they weren’t ruling out the possibility of a hate crime, because the first three suspects were minorities, and Mason and House in particular had ties to prominent members of Austin’s African-American community. But the fourth bombing appeared to be more random—a trip wire on a sidewalk that could have been triggered by any pedestrian who walked by—than the first three, and it injured two white men. Manley said Monday that investigators still haven’t ruled out the possibility of a hate crime, but added the explosion “does change the concerns that we had initially.” As of Monday, investigators had yet to identify a motive or a suspect.