Mark Anthony Conditt, 23, has been identified as the person behind a string of deadly bombings in Austin. He blew himself up as police tried to arrest him on Wednesday
The serial Austin bomber had been part of a Christian survivalist group that would discuss weapons and dangerous chemicals – as authorities reveal he had a target list of future locations to continue his reign of terror.
Mark Anthony Conditt, 23, took part in the conservative club called Righteous Invasion of Truth (RIOT) as a teenager, which involved home-schooled youth studying the bible and being taught gun skills.
The details are among those to emerge about Conditt after he blew himself up as police tried to arrest him on Wednesday over a string of deadly package bombs that have terrorized Austin for weeks.
Conditt, an unemployed college dropout who bought bomb-making materials at Home Depot, had recorded a 25-minute confession video on his cellphone hours before he died after detonating one of his own devices.
Police are still trying to understand the motive behind the series of bombings that left two dead and injured five others – and that the phone recording offered a key insight into why Conditt embarked on the killing spree.
Cassia Schultz, a childhood friend who was in the same RIOT group as the bomber, told BuzzFeed that Conditt would regularly attend the group with one of his younger sisters.
‘A lot of us were very into science; we would discuss chemicals and how to mix them and which ones were dangerous,’ Schultz, now 21, said.
‘We were into weapons and stuff. A lot of us did role-playing, and (role-playing games); we’d have foam weapons and act out a battle.’
Schultz, who described Conditt as a ‘normal kid’, said she couldn’t recall bombs or bomb making ever being discussed at the RIOT groups. She added that other members of their group were shocked to hear Conditt was behind the deadly Austin bombings.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said that in the 25-minute video Conditt recorded he did not explain why he had targeted his victims but spoke in detail about each and every bomb he created.
Conditt killed himself after detonating a bomb in his car (pictured above) as authorities zeroed in on him early Wednesday
‘He mentioned seven explosive devices, and we have identified those devices and those are no longer in play. We can account for every bomb, and he did individually identify each bomb,’ Manley said.
‘There were no indications of why these specific addresses, or those that were placed in the community, there was no reasons given for why he selected those individuals.’
Police did however discover a ‘target list’ when they raided his home. The list had ‘additional addresses we believe he was using for future targets’, according to US Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
The FBI said they were confident that suspect would have continued to cause more death and destruction if he had not been caught.
Conditt was eventually tracked down using store surveillance video, cellphone signals and witness accounts of a customer shipping packages in a disguise that included a blond wig and gloves.
Police obtained CCTV footage of him posting two devices disguised as parcels at a FedEx office on Sunday night. Law enforcement sources told ABC that Conditt had posted those two parcels under the alias name Kelly Killmore.
Despite this, authorities had already obtained surveillance footage of him purchasing supplies at an electronics store nearly two weeks ago, KXAN reports.
Manager of Fry’s Electronics Jen Meyer said investigators had obtained the video with a subpoena and agents had been back at her store almost daily ever since.
‘They were looking for any invoices that we may have or surveillance video that we may have on him,’ Meyers said.
A receipt from the store shows that Conditt had purchased 10 resistors and five battery cases on February 27 – three days before the first bombing.
Conditt’s three week reign of terror came to an abrupt end on Wednesday when he detonated a bomb inside his own car when police closed in on him near a hotel on the interstate highway.
At a Wednesday evening press conference, Austin Police, Chief Brian Manley (center) revealed that Conditt was aware the cops were closing in on him, and made a 25 minute video on his phone, confessing to the attacks
‘What is clear from listening to that video, is that this was very troubled young man who was talking about the challenges in his life that led him to take the actions he took,’ Manley said
Chief Manley revealed that Conditt was aware the cops were closing in on him and made a 25 minute video on his phone in the hours before his death. Police say they do not plan to release the confession during the investigation.
‘There were indications, that he stated in the video, that he felt like we were getting very close to him,’ he said.
‘It was a confession, because he was admitting to what he had done,’ he explained.
Manley said that officers had shot Conditt dead after he detonated a bomb inside his own car, injuring surrounding officers, when they knocked on his window.
But Manley hinted that it’s likely the suspect would have died from his self-inflicted wounds even if he hadn’t been shot, saying: ‘The injuries he sustained from the explosion were significant.’
It appears Conditt’s devout Christian family had no idea of his problems.
‘What is clear from listening to that video, is that this was very troubled young man who was talking about the challenges in his life that led him to take the actions he took,’ Manley said, adding that there were no mentions of terrorism or hate in the clip.
‘There were also indications of actions he was willing to take in the future,’ Manley continued.
‘He doesn’t mention anything about terrorism or anything about hate. It’s an outcry of a challenged young man.’
Investigators say Conditt’s Google search history indicated he was researching other addresses, and it appears he was planning other attacks before SWAT teams cornered him.
SWAT teams searched Conditt’s home on Wednesday afternoon fearing there could explosives there. Police also questioned his two housemates.
However, police now believe that all Conditt’s live bombs are accounted for.
The bomber had gone on a three week bombing spree stretching back to March 2. The series of bombings killed two people and injured at least five others.
Police say the suspect wasn’t previously known to law enforcement. Police believe Conditt, who previously worked as a computer repair technician and at a manufacturing company, made all the bombs himself.
His extended relatives in Colorado said they were in shock following the revelation Conditt was a serial bomber as neighbors described him as a quiet, studious young man who came from a good family.
Police were spotted searching the home where Conditt lived with two others at about 1pm on Wednesday, fearing there could explosives there. They had also earlier evacuated the neighborhood and questioned his two roommates
Mark Conditt, pictured above with his parents Danene and Pat and his three young sisters, previously worked as a computer repair technician and is believed to have made all the bombs himself
Authorities had zeroed in on the Austin bombing suspect in the last 24 to 36 hours and located his vehicle at a hotel (above) on Interstate 35 in the suburb of Round Rock early Wednesday morning
Police zeroed in on the bomber after CCTV taken at a FedEx office in south Austin emerged showing him dropping off two packages around 7.30pm on Sunday. He appeared to be in disguise and was wearing latex-style gloves to handle the parcels
The bomber’s grandmother Mary Conditt, who lives in Colorado, told CNN that she had never seen any sign of violence in him.
‘If anything he’s low-key and peaceful,’ she said. ‘He’s from a family that is so tight, that works so hard to raise their children correctly. It’s just horrible.’
A statement from his extended family in Colorado read: ‘We are devastated and broken at the news that our family could be involved in such an awful way. We had no idea of the darkness that Mark must have been in.
‘Our family is a normal family in every way. We love, we pray, and we try to inspire and serve others. Right now our prayers are for those families that have lost loved ones, for those impacted in any way, and for the soul of our Mark. We are grieving and we are in shock.’
Conditt was home-schooled growing up with his three younger sisters. He attended Austin Community College from 2010-12 when he 15 but didn’t graduate. He was fired from his sales job at local business Crux Manufacturing in August last year after failing to meet expectations.
He had purchased a property in the Austin suburb of Pflugerville last year and neighbors told the Statesman that he had been living in that home with several housemates prior to the bombings.
His parents Danene and Pat Conditt lived in their family home – a tidy white clapboard, two story house – not too far away.
Jay Schulze who lives two doors down from Mark Conditt’s home told DailyMail.com that father and son had been working day and night on the house for a year after buying it when the previous elderly residents died.
He said he only knew Mark to wave to. ‘Same with everyone I’ve spoken to, no-one really knew him.
‘I know exactly who he was – but not on a personal level.’
An aerial view of the bomber’s car is pictured above after the 23-year-old detonated an explosive device before police could arrest him
Officials removed Conditt’s car (pictured above) from the highway on Wednesday after he killed himself when he detonated a bomb inside the SUV at about 2am
Shulze said dozens of ATF and FBI agents swarmed the area around 9.30 pm on Tuesday with drones flying overhead.
‘I was out walking and there must have been 20-30 agents asking me what I was doing and where I was going and about all the trails round here and how to get in and out.
‘I knew then the clearly had a bead on who they were looking for. And I knew it must be the bombings. They wouldn’t have put so many resources on anything else.’
Neighbor Jeff Reeb, 75, told DailyMail.com that Conditt was the eldest of four children and he moved out several years ago. He said he spotted him a week or two ago visiting his parents.
‘It doesn’t make any sense, none of it,’ he said. ‘I’d see him when he came back to visit his parents. He’d drive up in his red truck and stay two or three hours.
Other neighbors described the Conditts as a ‘nice Christian family’.
Conditt doesn’t appear to have left much of a trail on social media but his blog posts from 2012 indicate he was in favor of the death penalty and was against gay marriage and abortion. He identified himself as a conservative but said he was not politically engaged and said he had interests in tennis, parkour and gymnastics.
Shocked neighbors described Conditt as a quiet, studious young man who came from a good family. His blog posts from 2012 indicate he was in favor of the death penalty and was against gay marriage and abortion
Neighbors described the Conditts as a ‘nice Christian family’ and his mother had indicated on social media that the 23-year-old had been considering going on a ‘mission’ after finishing his studies
Police questioned the bomber’s two housemates on Wednesday afternoon as they searched the property. One roommate was questioned and later released, while the second was still being held for questioning. An FBI official is pictured above carrying clothes to give to one of the suspect’s roommates
A lone police officer stood guard outside the family home as one of Mark’s sisters ushered FBI and ATF agents inside on Wednesday just hours after her brother had blown himself up.
Gov. Greg Abbott said Conditt was apparently unemployed when he began planting bombs. Abbott added that some of the equipment Conditt used was purchased from Home Depot.
Statement from Mark Conditt’s extended family:
‘We are devastated and broken at the news that our family could be involved in such an awful way. We had no idea of the darkness that Mark must have been in.
Our family is a normal family in every way. We love, we pray, and we try to inspire and serve others. Right now our prayers are for those families that have lost loved ones, for those impacted in any way, and for the soul of our Mark.
‘We are grieving and we are in shock. Please respect our privacy as we deal with this terrible, terrible knowledge and try to support each other through this time.’
He said that among the items the bomber purchased at Home Depot were five signs saying ‘CAUTION CHILDREN AT PLAY.’ He said he was told a tripwire bomb that injured two men in Austin on Sunday was tied to one of the signs.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said officers used CCTV, cell phone data, witness accounts and store receipts to track the bomber to the hotel north of the city.
When officers arrived at the hotel, the man was sitting inside his vehicle and police called for backup before they attempted to make an arrest.
As reinforcements were arriving the man left the hotel and police followed him. The suspect pulled off the city’s main highway and brave officers rammed his car to stop him, knowing it was likely packed with explosives.
Two Austin police officers were approaching his vehicle when he detonated a bomb. One officer fired at the vehicle and the other sustained a minor injury after being thrown back when the bomb went off.
The bomber’s death came just hours after CCTV footage emerged showing the suspect at a Fed-Ex office in the south of the city.
Images show the man wearing a disguise and delivering two packages to the store around 7.30pm on Sunday. It appears he was wearing latex style gloves at the time he posted the packages.
One of the packages subsequently exploded on a conveyor belt at a FedEx sorting facility outside of San Antonio in Schertz just after midnight on Tuesday. The other was intercepted at a facility near Austin airport and was later confirmed to contain a bomb.
Heavily armed SWAT teams were spotted outside Conditt’s home on Wednesday afternoon as they searched the property for explosive devices
An FBI bomb robot rolls towards the suspect’s home on Wednesday afternoon as law enforcement searched the home for extra explosives
A heavy law enforcement presence was spotted outside Conditt’s home in Pflugerville on Wednesday morning after he blew himself up
His parents Danene and Pat Conditt lived in their family home – a tidy white clapboard, two story house (pictured above) – not too far away from him. Authorities went to the house on Wednesday just hours after Conditt blew himself up
ATF Special Agent George Goodman flew in from Michigan with his five-year-old chocolate lab Bonny to search the parents’ property after the series of bombings but didn’t locate anything
Two people were killed and five injured in five explosions that began on March 2. A sixth device was found before it detonated
Law enforcement sources told KUVE that the tipping point in the investigation came on Tuesday at about 9pm after the CCTV footage emerged.
It led police to the suspect’s home and allowed them to collect cell phone data that enabled them to track him to his hotel.
Timeline of how Austin bomber was busted:
After 9pm – Authorities identify the suspect after obtaining CCTV footage from a FedEx store in South Austin that shows him posting two packages on Sunday night.
It leads police to his home where they obtain information from his Google history and computer confirming he was looking at where he could ship the devices.
Around 2am – Police use cell phone data to track Conditt to a hotel on Interstate 35, just outside Austin.
Cops find him sitting in his car and they call for backup to make an arrest.
Just before 3am – As reinforcements are arriving, suspect starts driving away in the direction of the highway.
Officers ram his car to stop him fleeing. As two cops approach his car, he detonates a bomb and kills himself.
8am – Bomber is identified as local 23-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt.
Authorities also got information from Google and from the suspect’s computer history that confirmed the suspect was looking at information on where to ship devices. Based on that information, police were dispatched to two homes on Tuesday night to check for packages.
The bomber is understood to have used ‘exotic’ and foreign batteries ordered online from Asia to make the bombs, NBC reports. Law enforcement said the signature trait is what helped them quickly link all the bombings together.
It is not known if the suspect was planning to deliver a seventh device when police stopped him. Chief Manley said it is not clear why he tried to leave the parking lot of the hotel.
Chief Manley has warned residents not to let their guard down yet, saying there was a possibility that more bombs had yet to be found.
‘We don’t know where this suspect has spent his last 24 hours and therefore we still need to remain vigilant to ensure that no other packages or devices have been left to the community,’ Manley said.
The I-35 was closed off in both directions following the explosion and officers are set to remain on scene until their investigation has been completed.
Austin PD homicide detective David Fugitt said the Conditt family was cooperating ‘above and beyond’ what police could expect. He said a ballistics sniffing dog had been brought to the family home on a quiet cul-de-sac later on Wednesday but stressed that was just a precaution.
‘They are having a difficult time,’ Fugitt said. ‘It’s a shock to their conscience as well.’
He said police have no information that Conditt’s family had any knowledge of Mark’s bombing campaign.
‘They want to express their condolences to the families affected by this.’
He said the family will issue a formal statement later Wednesday.
President Donald Trump, who was earlier criticized for failing to speak out over the shootings, tweeted ‘Austin bombing suspect is dead’ on Wednesday morning. ‘Great job by law enforcement and all concerned,’ he added.
Police say they tracked the bomber to the Round Rock area using CCTV (pictured above), store receipts and cell phone data
Conditt was captured on CCTV cameras sending two packages at a FedEx office on Sunday. He was dressed in disguise and was wearing latex protective gloves at the time
The packages he sent from Austin were addressed to two places in the city. One exploded at a FedEx facility and the other was found before it could detonate
President Trump, who was earlier criticized for his silence around the attacks, tweeted on Wednesday morning. Republican Ted Cruz also thanked police for their efforts
The series of bombings killed two people and injured at least five others, unnerving residents of Austin, a city of some 1 million people.
The first incident occurred on March 2 when a package bomb exploded at a northeast Austin home, killing a 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House.
Two more package bombs then exploded further south on March 12. Draylen Mason, 17, was killed and his mother was wounded after they opened a package in their kitchen.
A 75-year-old Hispanic woman named by family as Esperanza Herrera was severely injured when a package bomb exploded at her home a few hours later.
On Sunday, two white men aged in their 20s were badly injured when they triggered a ‘near-invisible’ tripwire linked to another explosive device.
A female employee was wounded at a FedEx facility in San Antonio just after midnight on Tuesday when a package exploded while moving between conveyor belts. The package had been posted from a FedEx office in the Austin area and was addressed to a home in Austin.
Hours later, a bomb was discovered at another FedEx facility near Austin airport but was found before it detonated. The package was posted from the same address in Austin as the one that exploded earlier in the day.
The first three devices were parcel bombs dropped off in front of homes around Austin neighborhoods.
The series of bombings bewildered law enforcement officials, who by Sunday began taking the unusual step of publicly calling on the bomber to get in touch and explain why he was carrying out the attacks.
Authorities had initially believed the bombings may be hate crimes because the first two victims were black, but they backed off that theory after Hispanic and white victims from different parts of the city were also affected.
President Donald Trump had earlier been criticized for his silence over the bombing spree given most of the victims were from the city’s historically black and Latino neighborhoods.
Unlike other attacks, such as the Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida, which Trump was quick to label an act of terrorism, the president initially remained silent about the Austin bombs.
Previous victims: Anthony Stephan House, 39, (left) died on March 2 and Draylen Mason, 17, (right) died on March 12 when package bombs were left at their respective homes
A second package was later intercepted and was confirmed to contain another bomb (pictured, FBI agents at the facility where a package exploded)
Two men were injured on Sunday after triggering a tripwire bomb, the fourth such explosion in the city in two weeks
Three weeks of terror: Timeline of Texas package bomb attacks
Anthony Stephan House, 39, died on March 2 after opening a package delivered to his Austin home
March 2: Police are called to the scene of an explosion in Austin around 6.55am. Anthony Stephan House, 39, is found with critical injuries and taken to hospital, but is pronounced dead around 7.45am. Officers say the explosion is ‘not part of a larger scheme’.
March 12: At 6.45am officers respond to the scene of another explosion, 12 miles south of the first, which happened in the kitchen of a home. Draylen Mason, 17, is killed in the blast and his mother, aged in her 40s, is badly injured.
Just before noon a second explosion is reported, five miles south of the second. Esperanza Herrera, 75, is taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Investigators say the two explosions are linked and are also connected to the first blast 10 days prior.
Draylen Mason, 17, died on March 12 and his mother was seriously injured after a package exploded in their kitchen
March 18: Two white men in their 20s are seriously injured in south west Austin after triggering a ‘near-invisible’ tripwire that was attached to a bomb.
Police believe the attack is linked to the first three bombings and say it shows the attacker is intelligent and becoming more sophisticated.
A reward of $115,000 is offered for information on the serial bomber.
March 20: A female worker at a FedEx sorting facility in San Antonio is injured shortly after midnight when a package explodes while being moved between conveyor belts. Police say the package had been posted from a FedEx in the Austin area and was due to return to an address in the city.
Around 6.20am officers are called to another FedEx facility near Austin airport to reports of a suspicious package. It is later discovered to contain a bomb that investigators say is linked to the previous devices. The package was posted from the same address in Austin as the one that exploded earlier in the day.
Another explosion is reported shortly after 7pm at a Goodwill store on Brodie Lane, a short distance from where the two previous packages were posted. However, police later say the device was ‘old, military type ordinances’ that were donated, and is not related to the other attacks.
A female worker at a FedEx sorting facility in San Antonio was injured when a package exploded on March 20
March 21: Police track the bomber to a hotel around 18 miles north of Austin using CCTV footage from the FedEx store and witness description of his vehicle. When they arrive he is sitting inside the vehicle in the parking lot, so they call for backup.
As backup is arriving the vehicle moves away then stops on a frontage road leading to the I-35 freeway. As officers approach the vehicle a bomb detonates, killing the driver and leaving an officer with minor injuries.