US 2 of 3 families targeted by package bombs knew each other
Teen killed, woman hurt when package explodes at Texas home
A teenager has died and a woman is seriously injured after a package exploded at a home in Austin, marking the second such explosion this month at a home in Texas' capital city.The package detonated early Monday. Police say the teen died at the scene, while the woman was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. Police say the woman is in her 40s, but they haven't released any other information.
AUSTIN, Texas — Two of the three families targeted by package bombs left on Austin doorsteps knew each other and were connected through local activism in the black community, a civic leader said Tuesday, but it was not clear how they might be tied to a third household where a package bomb also exploded.
Austin package bomb victim's neighbor describes trying to save him
<p>Police in Austin, Texas are warning the public Tuesday morning to watch out for an apparent bomber on the loose. Investigators now say three package bombs, including two that exploded Monday, are connected.</p>The explosions happened within about 15 miles of each other. Seventeen-year-old Draylen Mason died and another woman was hurt in an explosion Monday morning. A second blast about five hours later injured another woman.
Investigators have said the three explosions that killed two people and wounded two others could have been hate crimes since all the victims were black or Hispanic. But they also said they have not ruled out any possible motive.
Dixon Mason, a prominent dentist in east Austin, was grandfather of 19-year-old Draylen Mason, who was killed Monday after carrying a package left at his home into the kitchen and opening it. The elder Mason was friends with Fredie Dixon, stepfather of 39-year-old Anthony House, who died in a similar attack in another part of the city on March 6, said Nelson Linder, president of the Austin chapter of the NAACP.
"I don't believe in coincidences," Linder said, explaining that he was concerned by the fact that the families were acquainted.
Teen killed by bomb in Austin remembered as ‘very intelligent'
A 17-year-old musician described as “insightful and mature” was killed by a package bomb that exploded at his Austin home on Monday. Draylen Mason died 10 days after Anthony Stephan House was killed in another local bombing that police believe is connected to Monday’s attack.Mason was a bassist and member of at least three musical groups, including Interlochen Center for the Arts, the Austin Youth Orchestra and Austin Soundwaves, according to his Facebook page.The East Austin College Prep student was remembered as an academic standout with a promising future in an outpouring of online condolences Tuesday.
Still unknown, though, is what connection — if any — the two families had to a third household where another package bomb exploded Monday, injuring a 75-year-old Hispanic woman.
Business records indicate that Dixon was a leader of Austin's African American Cultural Heritage District, or "Six Square," which the city defines as 6 square miles of east Austin that was originally created as the Negro District by the Austin City Council in 1928. He also was a longtime pastor at Wesley United Methodist Church, one of the city's oldest historically black churches.
Dixon was quoted in by the Austin American-Statesman in 2015 lamenting how Austin's population and prosperity were effectively creating economic segregation by raising the cost of living.
"Austin is quickly becoming a city of the privileged and the non-privileged," Dixon told the newspaper. "Is that the kind of Austin we want?"
These are the victims of the Austin package bombs
<p>Two lives were cut short when explosive packages arrived on their doorsteps in Austin, Texas.</p>Anthony Stephan House was a senior project manager at Texas Quarries, a supplier of limestone from the state, according to his LinkedIn page.
Linder said Austin's minority community is on edge following the bombings.
"Given the fact these people are people of color, that definitely gets people's attention," he said. "And they feel vulnerable, and they should based on the nature of the incidents."
The FBI and other federal officials continue to assist in the investigation. Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told a news conference Tuesday, "We're not saying terrorism or hate is in play, but we certainly have to consider that."
Tina Sherrow, a retired agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the materials to build such bombs are commonly available at hardware stores or online, and that police have been mum on details because the perpetrators may be watching media coverage.
What the bombs that went off in Austin might tell us about the bombmaker
Details about the deadly bombings in Austin remain scarce, but one thing is clear, experts say: whoever made the bomb knew what they were doing. Three parcel bombs exploded at homes in the Texas capital over 10 days, killing two people, wounding two others and leaving a community shaken. As state and federal agencies work together to find answers, here's what experts say the explosions tell us about the culprit or culprits.These are not their first bombsMaking a bomb that works at the right time is harder than it might sound.
"I don't look at it as terrorism, but it's terrorism of a community for sure," Sherrow said.
The package explosives were not delivered by the U.S. Postal Service or any private carrier but left overnight on doorsteps. Still, Manley urged Austin residents to call 911 if they receive any unwanted packages that look suspicious. Authorities responded to 250-plus calls about parcels without finding any that were explosives.
Investigators collecting evidence continued to come and go, and yellow police tape still marked off the sites of Monday's two blasts, which occurred about 5 miles apart.
At the site of the March 2 bombing, there were no police, but the door to the red-brick house where the package exploded was still boarded up.
There was nothing obvious linking the three neighborhoods where the bombs exploded, other than all were east of Interstate 35, which divides the city. The east side has historically been more heavily minority and less wealthy than Austin's west side, although that has changed as gentrification has raised home prices and rents everywhere.
The attacks occurred amid the South By Southwest music festival, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to Austin each March. But the blasts happened far from the main events and concert venues.
Associated Press writers John Mone and Jim Vertuno contributed to this report.
Man convicted of fatal bombing 29 years ago to be executed .
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Judge Robert S. Vance was at his kitchen table on Dec. 16, 1989, when he opened a package that had been mailed to his home. Two days later, a similar device killed an attorney in Georgia. Two other mail bombs were later intercepted and defused, one at a federal courthouse in Atlanta and the other at an NAACP office in Jacksonville, Florida.
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