Austin

News, events, and entertainment happening in and around Austin and the Central Texas counties of Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

For more than a year, Brian Manley has been serving as Austin’s interim police chief. Now, voices are growing louder to make that role permanent. So loud, in fact, that Austin’s city manager has said he expects to update people about the chief’s job in the near future.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

When Natalie Rogers defines the word "terrorist," she starts with the root.

“It is someone who is trying to invoke terror,” said Rogers, a 36-year-old software engineer in Austin.

To some residents, the serial bomber successfully did that.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Members of the Austin City Council want to formally appoint interim Police Chief Brian Manley as the city's permanent chief. If a resolution is approved, City Manager Spencer Cronk would need to make the final hiring decision.

Shortly after the announcement yesterday of the death of Austin's serial bomber, City Council Member Delia Garza made the call to hire Manley permanently.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley says Austin bombing suspect Mark Conditt recorded a 25-minute video confession hours before his death early this morning.

Gabriel C. Pérez

Technicians have removed bomb components and homemade explosives from inside the Pflugerville home of an Austin bombing suspect who died early this morning, officials said. 

ATF Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski said the bombmaker had a "signature style" and that components in the house were similar to components found in the devices that exploded this month in Austin.

One of the rooms had a considerable amount of bomb-making material, he said.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Kyle and Joycelyn Olson keep a whiteboard on the refrigerator in their East Austin home. They used to use it for things like planning dinner, but these days it has another purpose.

“What we’ve done now is we start to write down what day packages are supposed to arrive and when, even possibly noting the size of the package,” says Kyle Olson, whose wife had a baby this week.

Courtesy of Tiffany Clay

Anthony Stephan House, who was killed March 2 in the first of a series of bombings in Austin, was a father and a graduate of Texas State University. According to high school friends, he was quiet, humble and self-assured, even at a young age.

“It was always a no-small-talk-type conversation with him,” said high school friend Kevin Cotton, who now lives in Fort Worth. “I liked that about him.”

JORGE SANHUEZA-LYON/KUT

The Austin Police Department is the public face of the investigation into the four bombings in the city this month. But behind the scenes the APD is getting help from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the FBI.

Alain Stephens, an investigative reporter with the Texas Standard, has been speaking on background with some ATF officials. KUT's Nathan Bernier talked with Stephens about how the agency investigates bombings.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Austin Police say a bombing that injured two people in Southwest Austin last night is similar to three package bombings in Austin this month. Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said authorities are still conducting a sweep of the Travis Country neighborhood, though police are allowing reentry into the neighborhood from certain areas.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley says an explosion that injured two white men in their 20s in the Travis Country neighborhood in Southwest Austin was caused by a bomb. Authorities are "operating under the belief" that the explosion is connected  to three package bomb explosions in Austin this month, Manley said.

Claire McInerny / KUT

Authorities have increased the reward to $100,000 for information leading to an arrest in a string of package bombings in Austin.

That's in addition to the $15,000 reward offered by Gov. Greg Abbott's office, interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said at a news conference today.

A 26 year-old man is in custody on charges he made a terroristic threat Saturday when he emailed a bomb threat aimed at the Fair Market venue on East Fifth Street.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

On the corner of Fourth and Trinity, right outside the Austin Convention Center, Khari Youngblood is trying to get pedestrians to stop and talk to him. It’s the last day of the SXSW Interactive festival, and participants with badges crowd the sidewalk. He compliments their clothes, yells jokes and puns, and when someone ignores him, he moves on to someone else.

Andrea Garcia for KUT

More than 400 Austinites gathered Thursday night at Greater Mount Zion Baptist Church, less than a mile from the home of 17-year-old Draylen Mason, who was one of two people killed in three package bombings in Austin this month.

Courtesy of Austin Soundwaves

Draylen Mason was known as an accomplished musician who was heading to college, but he could also make you laugh before he even opened his mouth.

"You just expect to laugh with him. That boy was hilarious," said Sharrel Prince, who has known him since pre-K. "What made Draylen funny is that he says the things everyone else is scared to say."

Syeda Hasan / KUT

On Haverford Drive in North Austin, the front door of the home where Anthony House lived has been boarded up with plywood. Save for that, there’s nothing to indicate what happened on this quiet residential street March 2.

Andrea Garcia for KUT

Alberto Orozco probably won’t open his dating apps during SXSW.

Courtesy of the Hispanic Bar Association of Austin

On Monday, 17-year-old Draylen Mason was killed by a package explosion at his home on Oldfort Hill Road. It was the second in a string of three attacks in the past two weeks that the Austin Police Department says are related.

By all accounts, Draylen was a remarkable kid, and there have been hundreds of remembrances in the past couple  days that testify to that.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

For some local festivalgoers, South By Southwest means more than just music, movies or tech; it means finding as much free food and drink as you possibly can. But just how far can you take it? And is it worth it?

It’s a challenge I put to Twitter earlier this month, and one local man was willing to find out.

Jimmy Maas/KUT

South By Southwest has been around for more than three decades. It's grown from a small music festival into a business behemoth celebrating tech, music, film and most things creative. But every year there are always people who come to the festival for the first time.    

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott himself was opposed to the controversial “bathroom bill” that dominated debate at the Texas Capitol for much of 2017, according to a state representative involved in keeping the legislation from passing the Texas House.

State Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, the chairman of the House State Affairs committee that blocked the bill from reaching the House floor for a full vote, said Tuesday that Abbott “did not want that bill on his desk.”

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Police Department says it has received 265 calls about suspicious packages after two package bombings in Austin yesterday. None has turned out to be dangerous, APD said.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

"We will leave no stone unturned," interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said today in response to three package explosions in Austin over the past 10 days. 

Marshall Tidrick for KUTX

To stay safe at music festivals, Liliana Díaz and her friends question one another – constantly.

“Like, ‘Who’s she’s talking to? Who is that? Did she just meet him?… Hey do we know him? Do we not know him?'” 22-year-old Díaz  said Saturday as she wandered around a SXSW party hosted by the Austin-based dating app Bumble.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Well. It's here. Again. 

The music, film, education and tech-minded masses have descended on Austin. Here's a rundown of how to avoid traffic and get around during the festival – without wanting to claw your eyeballs out, unless you're looking for a parking spot. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin City Council passed a resolution Thursday that aims to help bring families displaced by gentrification back to the city.

The measure calls for giving preference for affordable housing to displaced people who have generational ties to certain neighborhoods. Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo, who wrote the resolution, calls it a “right to return” ordinance.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

On the floor of Austin airport, right by the baggage claim, there is a cryptic map made of terrazzo tile. It represents downtown Austin, but not quite as it is today. The story of how it came about reveals much about Austin’s past – and maybe its present.

Marshall Tidrick for KUTX

With SXSW kicking off this week, Austinites and visitors alike can expect a bit of chaos. If you’re a newbie headed to the festival, no worries. We've compiled a list of stories to help orient you to the city.

Consider this a little guide on how to get the most out of Austin.   

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

When Lauren Johnson started job-hunting in the early 1990s, she walked from business to business filling out applications by hand. “It’ll be so much easier someday when this is all computerized,” she remembers thinking.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

As the number of demolitions soars in Austin, the city is considering changing the way it issues permits to make sure teardowns are done safely and people affected are properly notified.

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