The day the accused Austin bombing suspect died after blowing himself up with an explosive device, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, representing the 10th district of Texas, which stretches from Austin to Houston, said it's a sigh of relief that the prime suspect is no longer alive, calling it the largest bombing investigation since the Boston Marathon bombing.
"I'm really proud of the people I know both in the FBI, ATF, Department of Public Safety, and APD. This is a textbook case of how it's supposed to work: federal and state working together to bring this chapter to a close," Rep. McCaul said.
He said the Austin bombing suspect, identified as 23-year-old Mark Conditt, made a fatal mistake when he walked into an Austin FedEx. He said in the previous explosions, the suspect managed to avoid surveillance cameras by just leaving packages.
"From there, we could ascertain his identity, his vehicle, his license plate number... Once we had the individual's name -- we could then ascertain his phone, which is critical. Because from there, you can track his movement," he said.
McCaul said when the suspect turned on his phone, investigators were able to track his location. As police approached him, McCaul said Conditt detonated a device and committed suicide, which also might have been an attempt to hurt the officers.
McCaul said as a former prosecutor, he's grateful that the families affected by the tragedies will have some sort of closure.
"The sooner they stopped him, the sooner they could stop anyone else from being killed in Austin," he said. "As you pointed out, he [the suspect] had many other targets that he was pursuing in the Austin area. And I think the uncertainty of not knowing when this was going to end created so much anxiety in the community."
McCaul said it's chilling that the suspect had a list of addresses he wanted to pursue.
"Law enforcement will probably notify individuals that might have been on the list to make sure that they don't have any explosive devices around their homes," he said.
According to McCaul, Conditt went to a Home Depot near his home in Pflugerville to purchase the materials for the bombs. McCaul said he doesn't know much about Conditt other than that he was a 23-year-old man who was homeschooled.
"Whatever the motivation is, it's senseless. I mean who would do something like this in their sound mind. Obviously, he's a very disturbed individual," he said.
McCaul said investigators are trying to rule out the possibility that the suspect worked with an accomplice.
"I'm sure while they're searching his house, as we speak right now, they're going to find all sorts of bomb-making materials. And if he did have a roommate, the roommate would have knowledge of the bomb-making," he said.
For the time being, McCaul said the joint operation center, which hosts federal and state authorities, will remain open. Officials still want to complete the search of the suspect's residence, find out if there's another conspirator or accomplice, and find out if there are any other packages out there. McCaul said once that is finished, the investigation will conclude.