Austin

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

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley called the Austin serial bomber a "domestic terrorist" at a panel hosted by KUT this morning. 

Despite previous calls from the community after a string of bombings killed 39-year-old Stephan House and 17-year-old Draylen Mason, Manley hadn't used the term. At the panel, he said he’s now “very comfortable” calling Mark Conditt a terrorist.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

We hosted a live discussion this morning about the Austin bombings and the response by police, the media and the community during Morning Edition. Panelists included Chas Moore of the Austin Justice Coalition, Emlyn Lee of Brave Communities, Gilbert Rivera of the Rosewood Neighborhood Association, interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley and UT Austin professor S. Craig Watkins. KUT's Jennifer Stayton moderated the conversation.

Gabriel C. Pérez

In the days after the Austin bombings, Jesus Valles couldn’t stop thoughts from buzzing around like bees in his head. He made sense of his feelings the best way he knew how: He sat down at his computer and began to write a public Facebook post about Austin.

“Austin is an exhausting place where racism smiles at you and does yoga and is a kind teacher and is such a good actor and is just trying to help you and just wants to know why you’re so upset,” Valles wrote.

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

After confusion about whether property the Alamo Drafthouse bought from the Austin Independent School District would include affordable housing, the project's architect confirmed Wednesday it's in the plans.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Hundreds of students, staff members, parents and city officials gathered last night at East Austin College Prep to celebrate the life of 17-year-old Draylen Mason, the second and youngest victim in a string of bombings in Austin earlier this month.

Ashley Sosa, an East Austin College Prep student who helped organize the vigil, said students and staff wanted the event to be a part of a healing process. Mason was killed on March 12 when a package exploded at his home on Oldfort Hill Drive, seriously injuring his mother, as well.

Andrea Garcia for KUT

The investigation continues into the serial bombings this month that killed two people and seriously injured four others in Austin. The bomber, Mark Conditt, detonated a bomb and killed himself as police were closing in on him in Round Rock on Wednesday. 

KUT's Jennifer Stayton talks with Austin Mayor Steve Adler about the issues the case has raised and how the city can move forward.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council is trying to figure out how the latest draft of the proposed land development code, known as CodeNEXT, could shape the future of affordable housing.

National Weather Service

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for Williamson, Caldwell, Hays, Guadalupe, Bastrop, Comal and Travis counties until 1:30 p.m. today.

Earlier this morning, parts of Central Texas saw as much as 1 to 3 inches from an initial band of storms, and the National Weather Service says the affected counties could see an additional 1 to 3 inches of rain through this afternoon.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Williamson County has ruled the death of serial bomber Mark Conditt a suicide. 

Conditt died after detonating an explosive device as police closed in on him in Round Rock early Wednesday. He is believed to be responsible for a series of bombings in Austin this month that killed Stephan House and Draylen Mason and seriously injured four others. 

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT News

The 23-year-old serial bomber who killed two people, seriously wounded four and put Austin on edge showed “no remorse” in a confessional video that has still not been made public, according to U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

In a letter to construction contractor S.J. Louis, the City of Austin calls the Waller Creek tunnel “diminished” and “defective,” and writes that shoddy construction has reduced “the primary purpose of the tunnel, flood protection.”

That might lead you to think the tunnel won’t serve its purpose to divert floodwaters away from downtown Austin. But in interviews Friday, city staff said the tunnel should work fine.

How To Help Victims Of The Austin Bombings

Mar 23, 2018
Lynda Gonzalez for KUT

Families are trying to recover after a series of bombings this month left two Austin residents dead and four others injured. While officials continue investigating the case, those directly affected by the bombings are still healing.

Eddie Gaspar/KUT

UPDATE:  Ashbel Smith Hall in downtown Austin was demolished Sunday morning to make way for a new office tower. 

Andrea Garcia for KUT

Over three weeks this month, a serial bomber killed two people and injured four more in Austin.

The first three bombs killed and injured people of color, raising fears that this was the deadly political statement of a racist. According to law enforcement, a video confession of the now-dead bomber does not mention race or politics as motives. But the deadly attacks in East Austin highlighted long-standing problems about Austin’s racial climate.   

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.

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