The Austin Police Department said it has received hundreds of calls of suspicious packages after two parcel explosions rocked Austin on Monday.
Police have urged city residents to be vigilant when opening their packages, saying they believe the two blasts are related to another explosion on March 2.
That vigilance is especially important given investigators said the bombs displayed a level of sophistication and included aspects such as shrapnel and motion detectors, according to ABC News.
Sources told the outlet the explosive devices were constructed with ‘enhancers,’ such as nails, nuts, bolts and metal pieces to generate shrapnel.
They also said they were detonated by a motion such as shaking or jostling, and had a safety switch that let the bomber or bombers make them without hurting themselves.
Investigators said these aspects display a high level of sophistication which indicate the bomb-maker or makers were highly skilled.
It was also revealed on Tuesday that two of the victims of Monday’s shooting were a mother-son pair who were hit at their home. The son, 17-year-old Draylen Mason, was killed in the blast.
The Austin Police Department said it has received hundreds of calls of suspicious packages after two parcel explosions rocked Austin on Monday
On Tuesday morning Austin Police Chief Brian Manley confirmed on Twitter that residents had heeded his warning, saying the department had received over 150 calls about suspicious packages by 5am
The three explosions that have occurred in the last two weeks, two of which have been deadly, have all been within several miles of each other
It was also revealed on Tuesday that two of the victims of Monday’s shooting were a mother-son pair who were hit at their home. The son, 17-year-old Draylen Mason, was killed in the blast
His mother was not identified but was said to be 40-years-old, and was injured but is now in stable condition.
On Tuesday morning Austin Police Chief Brian Manley confirmed on Twitter that residents had heeded his warning to be careful when opening their mail, saying the department had received over 150 calls about suspicious packages by 5am.
He also confirmed that none of the packages contained anything dangerous, but urged residents to remain aware.
Police said they believe all three blasts are related, and said that at least one string of them may have been race related – as Draylen and his mother are African- American.
‘He was an outstanding young man who was going places,’ Manley said about Maosn. He was a talented musician with the Austin Youth Orchestra where he played double bass.
The third victim of Monday’s bombings was 75-year-old Esperanza Herrera, a Hispanic woman who was hospitalized with potentially life-threatening injuries. Manley said she remains in serious condition.
Monday’s attacks are believed to be linked to a deadly parcel bombing in a nearby neighborhood on March 2 that killed 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House.
Monday’s first explosion: Police were called to a home in Austin at 6.45am on Monday following reports of the explosion that left the 17-year-old boy dead and a woman in her 40s seriously injured
The 17-year-old, who was an honor roll student and promising musician, was killed when the package left outside his home exploded when it was opened in his kitchen
MULTIPLE BLASTS ROCK AUSTIN:
Friday, March 2: The first explosion occurs 10 days ago on the 1100 block of Haverford Drive. Anthony Stephan House, 39, is killed when a package blows up at his home at 6.55am.
6.44am on Monday, March 12: The explosion on Monday morning occurs in the kitchen of a home on the 4800 block of Oldfort Hill Drive.
Draylen Mason, 17, is killed and a woman is seriously injured. It occurs 12 miles from the March 2 explosion.
11.50am on Monday, March 12: The second explosion occurs about six miles from Monday’s first incident at the 6700 block of Galindo Street.
A 75-year-old woman is taken to hospital with serious potentially life threatening injuries.
The Texas governor’s office revealed on Monday it was offering a reward of up to $15,000 for information leading to the arrest of those involved in the deadly package blasts.
Police, with the help of the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, are desperately searching for the attacker.
All the victims were minorities – the two males killed were both black – and investigators are looking into whether race was a factor. However, they backed off initial suggestions that hate crimes could be a core cause.
Austin police Chief Brian Manley had initially suggested that the blasts could constitute a hate crime, but later amended that to say authorities had not settled on a motive since the intended targets weren’t clear because multiple people live in the homes where explosives were placed.
‘We are not ruling anything out at this point,’ Manley said on Monday.
He added that there was no specific victimology or ideology so determining a motive was proving difficult.
Monday’s second explosion: Police and FBI officials blocked off Galindo Street (above) after reports an elderly woman was severely injured in a blast
March 2 explosion: Anthony Stephan House, 39, was killed on March 2 when a package blew up at his home just 11 miles away from Monday’s first incident
March 2 explosion: Police are pictured above responding to the explosion on March 2 that killed Anthony Stephan House
Police gave little details on the exact descriptions of the devices but said they were ‘box-type deliveries’ of an average size.
‘A device like this can be hidden in many different ways,’ Manley said.
In at least the first two blasts, the packages were left overnight on the victims’ doorsteps and were not mailed or sent by a delivery service.
Manley said neither the US Postal Service nor private carriers such as UPS or FedEx have any record of delivering the package to the home where Monday’s explosion occurred.
The explosions happened with hundreds of thousands of visitors in the city for the South by Southwest music, film and technology festival.
The bombs did not go off near the site and authorities say the event that brings thousands of people to the city every year is not connected.