CLOSINGS: View Closings

Police: Tripwire may have triggered explosion

An explosion that injured two men Sunday night -- marking the fourth blast in Austin, Texas, in a month -- could have been triggered by a tripwire, according to Austin Police Chief Brian Manley.

Posted: Mar 20, 2018 8:09 PM
Updated: Mar 20, 2018 8:09 PM

Austin police just confirmed what residents have feared for weeks -- a suspected serial bomber is attacking their city.

For the fourth time this month, a device exploded on Austin residents. What makes Sunday night's blast especially terrifying is that the device was left on the side of a residential road and triggered by a tripwire, police said Monday.

Investigators have found similarities between that device and three previous bombs, which were stuffed inside packages and left on residents' doorsteps, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said.

"We are clearly dealing with what we expect to be a serial bomber at this point," he said.

Timeline of the bombings

The latest device -- which was triggered by a tripwire -- shows "a higher level of sophistication, a higher level of skill," he said.

And unlike the victims of the previous blasts, the two men wounded in Sunday's explosion are white, Austin police said. Both men are expected to recover.

Latest developments

  • Police departments in Houston and San Antonio are sending bomb technicians and canine teams to Austin to help in the investigation, their police chiefs said Monday.
  • President Donald Trump has been briefed on the Austin bombings, a White House spokesman said Monday, adding the White House pledges its support to local law enforcement.
  • Three members of the Congressional Black Caucus called Monday for federal officials to classify the bombings as terrorist attacks and determine whether they are "ideologically or racially motivated."
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced more than $265,000 in emergency funding for police to purchase seven portable X-ray systems for use in detecting bombs and investigating suspicious packages.
  • The Travis Country neighborhood of Austin was on lockdown Monday, Manley said, as authorities investigate the pieces of evidence strewn across a wide area.
  • Manley asked anyone in the neighborhood with security camera footage to call police.
  • The Austin public school district says it couldn't send buses to the affected neighborhood Monday because of police activity.

An indiscriminate wake-up call

Many minority residents in Austin have been on edge since the bombings started, as the first three bombings killed or wounded minorities.

Several residents under lockdown Monday said they were stunned the latest attack happened in their neighborhood.

Unlike the first three bombings, which happened in east Austin, the latest attack happened in a predominantly white part of town.

Eliza May said because the first three bombings happening on the east side of the city, in predominantly minority areas, she hadn't been following the news closely.

May said that as a resident of the affluent Travis Country neighborhood, she assumed she had nothing to worry about.

"We feel safe. This isn't something that you'd expect around here," May said.

Now, "it's obvious that you have to be alert."

"This was a random bomb," she said. "This could have been any one of us."

Neighbor Shonda Mace said the bombing "is going to be (a) life-changing event for our neighborhood."

"I'm scared about what's going to happen next," she said.

Tripwire could give clues

"The use of a tripwire is far less discriminating than leaving parcel bombs at residences and suggests that the latest victims were not specifically targeted," the global think tank Stratfor Threat Lens said.

"The device's success, despite significantly different design, further suggests that the bomb maker behind these attacks is an accomplished one, and has likely to have received some training, perhaps as a military or police explosive ordnance disposal technician."

Austin bombings: Live updates

"As the bomb maker changes up design and geography, all residents of Austin and surrounding areas should avoid suspicious items," Stratfor Threat Lens said.

'Extra level of vigilance' needed

The latest blast came less than a week after police said the three previous explosions -- in a span of 10 days -- were connected. Those blasts killed a man and a teenager, and wounded two others.

The victims in those three explosions were African-American or Hispanic. Police have not discovered a motive, but have not ruled out the possibility those bombings could be hate crimes.

Police are working under the belief that the explosions are related. Manley said they'll get a better idea with a post-blast analysis and examination of the device components.

In the meantime, Manley told residents not to touch or go near anything that looks suspicious.

"We now need the community to have an extra level of vigilance and pay attention to any suspicious device -- whether it be a package or a bag, a backpack -- anything that looks out of place," Manley said Monday. "Do not approach items like that."

More resources for police

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the release of $265,500 in emergency funding Monday for the Austin Police Department and the Texas Ranger Response Team to purchase seven portable X-ray systems.

The systems can be used at the scene and provide "clear visual evidence for rapid assessment of a package's safety," the governor's office said.

"I want to ensure everyone in the Austin region and the entire state that Texas is committed to providing every resource necessary to make sure these crimes are solved as quickly as possible," Abbott said in a statement.

Other Texas law enforcement agencies are contributing resources as well.

The Houston police department said Monday it's sending several teams to Austin to help with the investigation. They include bomb technicians, an explosive ordnance disposal team, and an explosives-trained dog and handler, Chief Art Acevedo said Monday.

"We stand with the Austin Police Department," Acevedo said.

The San Antonio Police Department dispatched two bomb technicians and a bomb dog to Austin on Monday morning, Police Chief William McManus said.

Shortly before the fourth bombing, the reward for information leading to the arrest of anyone responsible for the three blasts increased to a total of $115,000, authorities said.

Officials have urged residents to call police with any tips they may have, even if the information seems to be "inconsequential."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312969

Reported Deaths: 3637
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin661641115
Ramsey27766505
Anoka22149228
Dakota22015190
Washington13999115
Stearns13733116
St. Louis8747112
Scott846255
Wright775843
Olmsted665634
Sherburne587641
Clay498457
Carver474213
Blue Earth414116
Rice412836
Kandiyohi408122
Crow Wing359634
Otter Tail314322
Chisago311611
Nobles308730
Benton299451
Winona276930
Mower261623
Douglas260337
Polk256324
Morrison231629
Lyon218711
Beltrami217117
McLeod212812
Becker205415
Goodhue203228
Steele19497
Isanti190617
Itasca190423
Carlton185816
Todd181214
Nicollet162525
Mille Lacs153631
Freeborn15336
Le Sueur147011
Cass143710
Brown141315
Waseca139211
Pine13658
Meeker12879
Roseau11964
Hubbard114925
Martin113320
Wabasha10561
Redwood94619
Chippewa8877
Cottonwood8664
Renville86527
Dodge8600
Watonwan8544
Wadena8016
Sibley7934
Rock7779
Aitkin76730
Pipestone72518
Fillmore6990
Houston6984
Yellow Medicine64812
Pennington6478
Kanabec61913
Murray5873
Swift5838
Faribault5612
Pope5391
Clearwater5248
Stevens5103
Marshall4979
Unassigned49359
Jackson4881
Lake4226
Koochiching3926
Wilkin3895
Lac qui Parle3773
Lincoln3591
Norman3497
Big Stone3182
Mahnomen2964
Grant2796
Kittson2248
Red Lake2133
Traverse1481
Lake of the Woods1001
Cook720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 227398

Reported Deaths: 2368
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33642336
Linn14352165
Scott1124986
Black Hawk10893135
Woodbury10372126
Johnson955336
Dubuque923291
Story678822
Dallas637257
Pottawattamie631970
Sioux370325
Webster358535
Cerro Gordo357144
Marshall348546
Clinton331344
Buena Vista305414
Des Moines291520
Muscatine289268
Warren281914
Plymouth276042
Wapello255772
Jones232313
Jasper217944
Marion205320
Lee203917
Carroll198422
Bremer195212
Henry18307
Crawford174616
Benton170619
Tama154340
Jackson144613
Delaware144221
Washington141314
Dickinson139210
Boone137011
Mahaska126827
Wright12456
Clay11784
Buchanan117010
Hardin115810
Page11374
Hamilton11199
Clayton11175
Cedar108413
Harrison107729
Kossuth10667
Calhoun10617
Floyd105016
Mills10487
Fayette103910
Lyon10338
Butler10216
Poweshiek99313
Winneshiek97613
Iowa95812
Winnebago93023
Hancock8677
Grundy86311
Louisa86216
Sac8608
Chickasaw8574
Cherokee8484
Allamakee81811
Cass81623
Mitchell7984
Appanoose79312
Humboldt7715
Union7706
Shelby76511
Emmet76424
Guthrie75415
Franklin73921
Jefferson7142
Madison6864
Unassigned6690
Palo Alto6554
Keokuk5997
Howard5599
Pocahontas5584
Greene5250
Osceola5241
Ida48913
Clarke4874
Davis4709
Taylor4653
Montgomery46311
Monroe44412
Adair4418
Monona4352
Worth3630
Fremont3583
Van Buren3585
Lucas3256
Decatur3170
Wayne3007
Audubon2962
Ringgold2112
Adams1702
Rochester
Clear
22° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 9°
Mason City
Few Clouds
23° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 14°
Albert Lea
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 21°
Austin
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 14°
Charles City
Clear
23° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 11°
Colder Conditions To Start The Workweek
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Kindness tree on display in Rochester

Image

Advice for safe holiday decorating

Image

Aaron's Sunday Night Forecast

Image

Active shooter police standoff resolved after 9 hours

Image

Standoff in Albert Lea after 3 people shot

Image

Christmas tree shopping

Image

MC 'grateful' to play, adjusting with schedule changes

Image

Small business Saturday

Image

Sean's Weather 11/28

Image

Sidelined in quarantine: Coach Fennelly talks about his experience away from the game

Community Events