Austin Bombing Suspect Blows Himself Up

A man suspected in a bombing spree killed himself with explosives as authorities were closing in.

BREAKING NEWS out of Austin:

Austin American-Statesman (“BREAKING: Austin bombing suspect dies as police close in, official says“):

A man whom authorities were attempting to arrest early Wednesday in a string of bombing attacks in Austin killed himself with an explosive device as authorities closed in, a high-ranking law enforcement official told the American-Statesman early today.

The official said authorities identified a suspect in the past 24 hours based largely on information gained after police said the suspect shipped an explosive device from a FedEx store in Southwest Austin. That evidence included security video.

Authorities also relied upon store receipts showing suspicious transactions from the person and obtained a search warrant for his Google search history that showed him conducting searches they considered suspicious, the official said.

Authorities relied upon cell phone technology to trace the suspect to a hotel in Williamson County, the official said.

Four bombs have exploded in Austin since March 2, killing two men and injuring four people. A fifth bomb exploded early Tuesday at a FedEx distribution center in Schertz, 60 miles south of Austin. A package containing what was believed to be an unexploded bomb was found Tuesday at a FedEx distribution center in Austin. Authorities believe the FedEx packages were sent from a FedEx retail store in the Southwest Austin suburb of Sunset Valley.

If all of the bombs originated with the same person, the use of FedEx represented a major shift in the bomber’s methods and a major break for authorities. The first three Austin bombs were left overnight on doorsteps and were not delivered by commercial delivery services, authorities have said. The fourth bomb was left next to a street in a residential subdivision and was triggered by a trip wire strung over a sidewalk.

Given that he blew himself up with explosives, one presumes he was indeed involved in this crime spree. One hopes that he was acting alone and responsible for the FedEx bomb as well. If so, authorities will presumably have a theory of the case soon if they don’t already.

FILED UNDER: Crime
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Franklin says:

    With the amount of surveillance video available and the other high-tech resources available to law enforcement now, I figured they’d be on him pretty quick. Might’ve taken longer if he kept leaving the bombs on doorsteps rather than using FedEx, but it’s getting more difficult to be a Ted Kaczinski nowadays.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    He’s lost the right to bear arms. Also legs. Entrails.

    As far as I’ve seen, we know nothing about the guy. So, sheer speculation: white, 40-60 years old, right-wing. Betcha dollar he owns a MAGA hat. Let’s see.

    6
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  3. grumpy realist says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Well, he’s white. 24 year old.

  4. SKI says:

    @michael reynolds: White male, age 24.

    Can’t wait for the “explanations” and claims about mental health.

    Still hasn’t been called a terrorist.

  5. James Joyner says:

    @SKI:

    Still hasn’t been called a terrorist.

    As I’ve alluded to in the posts about the bombings, whether they’re “terrorism” depends almost entirely on the motives.

  6. SKI says:

    @James Joyner: In theory…
    In practice, it depends almost entirely on the color of the skin and the religious views.

    Exhibit A:

    The spate of bombings in the Texas capital of Austin have no known links to terrorism, White House spokesman Sarah Sanders said on Tuesday.

  7. michael reynolds says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Interesting. In that case we should find military service.

    Can you tell that I’ve been binge-watching Prime Suspect and Morse?

  8. SKI says:

    @michael reynolds: Nope. Home-schooled, computer repair guy…

  9. KM says:

    @James Joyner:

    As I’ve alluded to in the posts about the bombings, whether they’re “terrorism” depends almost entirely on the motives.

    Doesn’t mailing bombs automatically make you a terrorist? I could have sworn that after 9/11 and the white powder scares, any biological hazard or bomb sent through the mail was classified as terrorism to make it a federal charge and be able to dump them in Gitmo. When did that change?

  10. SKI says:

    @James Joyner: Also, given the number of bombs sent and the identity of the targets, what possible motive could there be that isn’t terrorism?

  11. grumpy realist says:

    Probably totally OT, but I cracked up at the following line from an article over at The Daily Beast:

    Atomwaffen’s satanism-heavy reading list has apparently driven away some former members who were only in the group for the Nazism.

    (come for the Nazism, stay for the Satanism…)

  12. James Joyner says:

    @KM:

    Doesn’t mailing bombs automatically make you a terrorist? I could have sworn that after 9/11 and the white powder scares, any biological hazard or bomb sent through the mail was classified as terrorism to make it a federal charge

    Oh, that may be. I’m thinking as a political scientist, not a cop. Most academic, military, and diplomatic definitions involve a political or ideological motive.

    @SKI:

    Also, given the number of bombs sent and the identity of the targets, what possible motive could there be that isn’t terrorism?

    Maybe the guy’s just a nut. Maybe he thinks blowing random people up is a hoot. As noted in my first post on this, my gut instinct is a terroristic motive. Quite possibly white supremacist. But at this point, who the hell knows?

  13. michael reynolds says:

    @SKI:
    I always overcomplicate the plot. It’s an occupational hazard, I suppose. I wanted this to be a clever cover-up for a single murder. Or else a build-up to an extortion plot. I find random crazy people boring, there’s no story there, no complication, no arc.

    This is why the world needs fiction. Real life is so often disappointingly mundane.

  14. CSK says:

    As of now…Conditt had no military experience, had no criminal record, was unemployed, and lived with two roommates, who are said to be cooperating with authorities.

  15. mattb says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Can you tell that I’ve been binge-watching Prime Suspect and Morse?

    One of the things that’s wonderful about Morse is how deeply flawed he is (even more so in the books) and that, for all his brilliance, he tends to get things really (often spectacularly) wrong on the way to getting them right.

    So keep the guessing going! Morse would be proud (and would recommend more scotch)! 😉

  16. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: Ah, a 4chan idiot who was sending around bombs for the lulz.

  17. michael reynolds says:

    @mattb:
    He’s a wonderfully detailed, specific character. I have not read the books, but the TV writers did a terrific job finding the sweet spot between character consistency and character development. But I have not seen the final Morse. Too much like attending a funeral.

    The only thing I dislike about Morse (because, what, I’m going to dislike a misanthropic old crank?) is his taste in cars. I get why it had to be a Jag for the sake of the character, and yes it’s a beautiful machine. But not what anyone would call reliable. But I suppose a Benz would have been treason for an Englishman of that generation.

  18. grumpy realist says:

    Article from The Guardian with more on the bomber.

  19. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SKI:

    SKI nailed it. Home-schooled right winger.

    I wish I were surprised – but I’m not.

  20. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @KM: When they discovered that the people mailing white powder were mostly Caucasians of European descent? Just a guess, you understand.

  21. Mister Bluster says:
  22. SKI says:

    @Mister Bluster: yup.
    And we can just #watchwhitenesswork

    By the end of the day Wednesday, police had another tool: A 25-minute confession, left on the suspect’s phone, in which he attempted to describe his odyssey. “It is the outcry of a very challenged young man talking about challenges in his personal life that led him to this point,” the Austin police chief, Brian Manley, said.

  23. Mister Bluster says:

    @SKI:..#watchwhienesswork

    Never speak ill of the dead…honkies.

    When are we going to hear about this po’ cracker’s “challenges” that led him to murder innocent citizens?