Suspected Austin Bomber Kills Himself With Explosive Device

A suspect in a series of bombing attacks in Austin killed himself inside his car with an explosive device early Wednesday, police said.

Police were closing in on the suspect's location when the small bomb detonated.

Since the bombings started on March 2, investigators searched for clues in finding a person they dubbed a "serial bomber." The bombings killed two people and left the Texas capital terrorized with fear for 19 days.

Authorities had previously begged for information following three isolated residential attacks with small package bombs, a blast on a street in an Austin neighborhood and an explosion at a FedEx facility near San Antonio, which was intended to reach Austin.

In the past 36 hours, law enforcement received information directing them to a person of interest, who ultimately became a suspect. Surveillance teams tracked the suspect's vehicle to a hotel in Round Rock, north of Austin. As police waited for tactical units to arrive at the scene, the vehicle left the hotel.

SWAT followed and later approached the vehicle when the suspect detonated a bomb, killing himself and injuring a SWAT member. A SWAT officer fired his weapon at the suspect after an officer was knocked down by the blast. It's unclear whether the officer shot the suspect.

The suspect is a 24-year-old white man, and authorities do not know at this time whether he acted alone or what his motive was. Austin police chief Brian Manley said the suspect is responsible for all the incidents in the Texas capital.

"This is the culmination of three very long weeks in our community," Manley said. He urged residents to remain alert, saying that authorities do not know where the bomber has been for the past 24 hours and if he sent additional packages.

President Donald Trump also tweeted about the incident on Wednesday morning.

"Austin bombing suspect is dead. Great job by law enforcement and all concerned," he wrote.

The bombings in Texas began March 2, when a package explosion went off in northeast Austin, killing a 39-year-old man. A pair of package bombs detonated 10 days later in another neighborhood, leaving a 17-year-old dead and two other people injured. On Sunday night, two men were seriously injured by another explosion near the city limits.

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Police initially speculated the attacks might be racially motivated, citing that the two deceased victims came from prominent African-American families, while one of the wounded people is Hispanic. But after Sunday's bombing appeared to be rigged with a tripwire, and police say the injured victims — two white men — appeared to be random.

When police responded to the explosion inside the Schertz FedEx ground facility, they learned the small package bomb that exploded on a conveyor was intended for an Austin resident. With the help of employees, police also found a second bomb at the facility, sent by the same mailer and was intended for Austin.