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Austin Police Say A Series Of Package Bombs That Killed 2 Are Related

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Gabriel C. Pérez
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KUT
Emergency personnel work the scene of an explosion in the Montopolis neighborhood on Monday.

"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. 

A 17-year-old boy was killed and a woman was injured when a package exploded at a home near Martin Luther King Boulevard and Springdale before 7 a.m. today.

A few hours later, a 75-year-old woman was taken to the hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries after an explosion in the Montopolis neighborhood. 

Less than two weeks ago, a package exploded and killed 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House at his home near I-35 and Howard Lane.

Authorities initially believed the March 2 blast was isolated, but after the two incidents today and an initial review, Manley said, "we do believe that these are related.”

Manley said officials do not have a motive yet, but were not ruling anything out. He said the explosions do not appear to be connect to SXSW.

“We are having innocent people getting hurt across this community, and it is important that we come together as a community and solve this,” he said.

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Credit Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT
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KUT
Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley warns residents not to open suspicious packages on their doorsteps, but to instead call 911.

He said authorities did not know whether the victims were the intended targets, because the packages were "left at homes where there are either multiple residents or it might even be left at the wrong address." 

Both of the women injured today were taken to Dell Seton Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. 

Gov. Greg Abbott's office is offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to the identification and arrest of anyone involved in the blasts.

"I want to assure all Texans, and especially those in Austin, that local, state and federal law enforcement officials are working diligently to find those responsible for these heinous crimes," Abbott said in a statement.

The FBI, and agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are helping the Austin Police Department investigate, as is the U.S. Postal Service. 

Manley noted that authorities do not believe the packages were sent "by any of the official mail delivery services," saying that these "box-type deliveries" instead appeared to have been left on the victims' doorsteps overnight.

He warned residents not to open any suspicious packages and to instead call 911. 

“Under no circumstance should you touch them, move then or handle them in any way," he said, "but, instead, make that call and exit your residence or go to the back of your residence.”

“It’s not time to panic, but it is time to be vigilant," he said. 

Stephanie Federico is a digital news editor at KUT.org. Got a tip? Email her at sfederico@kut.org. Follow her on Twitter @steph_federico.
Joseph Leahy anchors morning newscasts for NPR's statewide public radio collaborative, Texas Newsroom. He began his career in broadcast journalism as a reporter for St. Louis Public Radio in 2011. The following year, he helped launch Delaware's first NPR station, WDDE, as an afternoon newscaster and host. Leahy returned to St. Louis in 2013 to anchor local newscasts during All Things Considered and produce news on local and regional issues. In 2016, he took on a similar role as the local Morning Edition newscaster at KUT in Austin, before moving over to the Texas Newsroom.
Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at aweber@kut.org. Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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