Over the span of 17 days, four explosions have rattled Austin. Two people were killed in total.
March 2, 2018: Man dies in northeast Austin explosion
At 6:55 a.m., police said they were called to a home in the 1100 block of Haverford Drive, near East Howard Lane and Harris Ridge Boulevard, in the Harris Ridge neighborhood. Police found a man, identified as Anthony Stephan House, 39, with critical injuries. He was taken to a hospital where he died just after 7:45 a.m. No one else was injured in the blast.
Initially, police said it was being treated as a "suspicious death," and that police didn't have "any indication that this is anything part of a larger scheme."
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said at a press conference that the explosion that killed House was caused by a package. Investigators are still working to determine how the package got there and if House was the person who was being targeted.
Police said at this point that they believed that it was an isolated incident and not related to terrorism. The Austin Police Department said they didn't have enough information yet to call it a homicide.
Just before 6:45 a.m. at a single-family home in the 4800 block of Oldfort Hill Drive near 51st Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, an explosion was reported. When law enforcement arrived at the scene, they found that the explosion happened in the kitchen of the home. A 17-year-old boy died from his injuries in the blast. A woman in her 40s was taken to a hospital. She is expected to be okay. No one else was injured in the blast.
Police later said they believe the two incidents are related. Manley said a motive in the two incidents remains unclear, but the victim in the first and second explosion are African American and they cannot rule out that the incidents were hate crimes.
The United States Postal Service told police that they reviewed their records, and they can confirm that the package did not come through the postal service.
Austin police are issuing a warning to people who see packages outside of their home. Manley said in both cases, the suspect delivered the packages during the nighttime, and the victims found them in the morning on their doorstep.
Just before noon, another package explosion was reported in the Montopolis neighborhood in the 6700 block of Galindo Street near Riverside Drive and Montopolis Drive. A 75-year-old Hispanic woman was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. A woman in her 80s was evaluated at the scene but was not taken to a hospital.
Manley said it is not believed that this third package was left by an official delivery service, and they currently do not have any suspect or vehicle descriptions at this time.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to the identification and arrest of the person or persons involved in the deadly package blasts.
At a press briefing Tuesday, police identified the 17-year-old victim as Draylen Mason and added that his mother, who was also injured, is recovering.
A family member confirmed the identity of the 75-year-old victim as Esperanza "Hope" Herrera. Police said this victim remains in critical condition.
Police announced that they would be offering a $50,000 reward for more information leading to the arrest of a suspect. That's in addition to the $15,000 reward being offered by Gov. Abott's office.
The APD also provided more information on the investigation of the first explosion on March 2, saying the department operated a major drug raid at a home that looked similar to where the explosion occurred. They said they initially believed this appeared to be an isolated incident due to the resemblance of the home involved in the drug raid and the home where the explosion happened.
They are currently investigating the three explosions as if they are all related.
Early Sunday, police announced they were offering an additional $50,000 for more information leading to the arrest of a suspect or suspects.
Hours after the announcement, Austin police confirmed a fourth explosion happened in Southwest Austin that they believe could be connected to the previous three explosions. Two white men in their 20s were injured in the blast but are expected to be OK. Police said they believe that a tripwire was used to trigger the explosion: a significant difference from the other reported cases, Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said.
Police said more than 500 federal agents are assisting in the investigation, 435 leads have been called in, 236 individuals have been interviewed, and 735 suspicious package calls have been responded to.
Monday morning, Austin Interim Police Chief said the fourth explosion in Austin that possibly involved a tripwire suggested that the suspect(s) behind the violent attacks is more sophisticated than officials originally thought.
Chief Manley called the suspect a serial bomber, adding that they have seen similarities in the device that exploded Sunday and the other previous explosions. Police updated their warning to the Austin community to not only be on alert for suspicious packages but also bags, suitcases, and boxes that look out of place.
The Travis Country neighborhood was asked to stay indoors until 10 a.m. while officials investigated the neighborhood for other suspicious devices.
Police reported the number of calls regarding suspicious packages had grown to 849.