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Authorities Defuse Bomb Found At FedEx In Austin After Another Explodes In Schertz

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
A package believed to be bound for Austin exploded in the sorting area of the FedEx facility in Schertz, Texas, early Tuesday.

Two package bombs found at two separate FedEx facilities in Texas today are connected to a string of bombings in Austin, local and federal officials say. 

One of the packages exploded early this morning at a FedEx distribution center in the San Antonio suburb of Schertz. The other package was found at a facility near the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. It is suspected that they may have been shipped from a FedEx Office store in Sunset Valley.

'It Seems Like It Can Be Anything Now': Austinites React As Bombings Continue

The first package was on an automated conveyor when it exploded around 12:30 a.m., Schertz Police Chief Michael Hansen said at a news conference this morning. An employee who was standing nearby complained of ringing in the ears. The employee was treated at the scene and released.

"We were very fortunate that there were no injuries," Hansen said.

A few hours after the explosion, APD responded to a call regarding a suspicious package at a FedEx depot near the airport on McKinney Falls Parkway. Authorities say the package contained an explosive device, which they dismantled. No injuries were reported.  

Around 7 p.m., Austin-Travis County EMS responded to a report of an explosion at Brodie and Slaughter lanes. Authorities later reported that the explosion at a Goodwill was not a bomb but an "incendiary device."

At a news conference tonight, Austin Assistant Chief of Police Ely Reyes said the device was an "artillery simulator" – an old military memento. He said it was not related to the serial bombings.

Credit Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT
Austin Assistant Chief of Police Ely Reyes briefs media about an incident at the Goodwill on Brodie Lane, which authorities believe is not connected to a string of bombings in Austin.

An employee in his 30s who handled the device was treated at St. David's South Austin Medical Center and has been released.

Jerry Davis, president and CEO of Goodwill Central Texas, said the device flashed when the employee handled it and "everybody panicked. And as you know, if you're familiar with this area, everybody's just paranoid as hell that the next bomb is going to blow up at their house."

Congressman Michael McCaul, whose district includes Austin, told The Associated Press that investigators have obtained surveillance videos that "could possibly" show a suspect in the Schertz explosion. He said investigators are still poring over the recordings.

Law enforcement agents, meanwhile, conducted a sweep of the FedEx Office store in Sunset Valley.


Credit Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT
Investigators work the scene of a FedEx Office on Brodie Lane in Sunset Valley. Officials believe a package that exploded in Schertz was shipped from the location.

Rich Andreucci, a lieutenant with the Sunset Valley Police Department, said the FBI had asked for assistance in keeping the parking lot clear around the store on Brodie Lane.

"They believe that the package that detonated in Schertz ... had been shipped from this store," he said.

Other businesses in the shopping center were cleared to open. The Sunset Valley Police Department said the FedEx store would be closed until the morning. 

"There's no reason for us to believe anybody is in danger," Andreucci said.


Sunset Valley City Administrator Clay Collins also said there were no known public safety threats.

"However, residents should remain vigilant and report any suspicious packages, items, or occurrences by dialing 9-1-1," he said in a statement.

The explosion comes amid a string of bombings in Austin over the past three weeks. Two people have been killed and four others wounded.

Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said APD is cooperating with federal authorities investigating the explosion. Austin police say they've fielded 420 calls about suspicious packages between 8 a.m. yesterday and 8 a.m. today, bringing the total number of calls to 1,257 since the morning of March 12.

Manley told the Austin City Council this morning that he believes the five explosions are connected. 

When asked about the bombings today, President Trump called Austin "a tremendous place" and said what's going on is "absolutely disgraceful."

"The bombings in Austin are terrible," he said. "These are sick people, and we will get to the bottom of it."

This is a developing story. 

Matt Largey is the Projects Editor at KUT. That means doing a little bit of everything: editing reporters, producing podcasts, reporting, training, producing live events and always being on the lookout for things that make his ears perk up. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mattlargey.
Stephanie Federico is a digital news editor at Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @steph_federico.
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 Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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