Austin Bombings

Credit Julia Reihs / KUT

In March 2018, a series of six bombings killed 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House and 17-year-old Draylen Mason and seriously injured four others.

A three-week manhunt by the Austin Police Department and federal law enforcement officials ended when the confessed bomber, Mark Conditt, killed himself by detonating a bomb in his car as police closed in on him in Round Rock. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

On March 2, 2018, Monica Sledge and her 2-year-old son, Luke, were playing in the living room by their back door. Suddenly, there was a loud boom.

“The windows shook,” Sledge said. “My son said ‘bunder,’ [and] I was just like ‘No, it's not thunder.’"

Lynda Gonzalez for KUT

A fatal package bombing at a North Austin home on March 2, 2018, was thought to be an isolated incident. Instead, it turned out to be the first of five bombs that would go off over the next few weeks. The bomber later killed himself in a separate explosion.

One year later, KUT is revisiting the serial bombing and its impact on the city.

Juan Figueroa for KUT

The Austin Youth Orchestra dedicated its annual spring concert Sunday to former member Draylen Mason, who was killed one year ago this month by a package bomb that exploded at his East Austin home.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

At around 7 o’clock on the morning of March 2, 2018, 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House was killed when a package bomb left on the porch of his North Austin home exploded. The bomb turned out to be the first of five bombs that would go off over the next few weeks, killing 17-year-old Draylen Mason and injuring five others. The bomber later killed himself in a separate bomb explosion.

One year later, KUT is revisiting the investigation, and the impact and aftermath of the bombings.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Federal authorities have closed their investigation into the series of bombings across Austin last year, finding Mark Conditt had no overarching ideological motivation and acted alone. 

Julia Reihs / KUT

No officer will be indicted for the officer-involved shooting of a serial bomber in March, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said Thursday.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley is on Capitol Hill this morning, testifying before the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee as part of a hearing about local, state and federal law enforcement responses to major events from the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing to the 2018 Austin Bombings.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

What kind of job did the media do covering the Austin serial bombings earlier this year? That depends on which media you are talking about.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

A judge has dismissed a complaint against confessed Austin bomber Mark Conditt now that his body has been identified and released to his family, U.S. Attorney John Bash said today. The investigation into a motive is ongoing, he added.

Lynda Gonzalez for KUT

A few dozen people gathered last week at the King-Seabrook Chapel at Huston-Tillotson University for a community safety meeting organized by the Austin Local Organizing Committee.

“The reason that we are here is not a pleasurable reason,” Robert Muhammad, one of the event's hosts, told the audience.

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 / KUT

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

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 Cristóver Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard.

In the aftermath of the bombing spree that paralyzed Austin over the past several weeks, many have suggested that the race of the bomber and his victims played a role in the way the case was discussed, even by law enforcement officials. The bomber’s first three victims were African-American and Latina, and critics have charged that Austin’s collective reaction to the attacks underwent a change when later victims, who live in an affluent, predominantly white area of town, were injured. Even after the bomber, a 23-year-old white man, took his own life as police closed in, some charged that descriptions of the crime and the perpetrator were different than they would have been in the case of a person of color.

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.

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.

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

Over a three-week period this month, a series of bombings in Austin left two people dead and four others injured.

The ordeal had many Austinites on edge. It ended with the death of the serial bomber after a standoff with police in Round Rock in the early hours of March 21. 

We put together this timeline to lay out how it all unfolded.

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/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

Over the last three weeks, a bombing spree in the Texas capital city shared eerie similarities to a string of Austin killings from 1885 that continued for over a year.

“The idea that these were crimes aimed at minority residents, in a weird way pacified people in Austin in 1885,” Skip Hollandsworth says. “And you can see it in the same fashion in the last three weeks.”

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.”

Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio

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.

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.

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