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Austin Package Bombs Kill A Teen, Injure 2 Women; Is The Suspect Targeting Non-Whites?

The Austin, Texas police chief hinted that the bombings could be hate crimes.

By Gina Tron

Package bombs have rattled the capital of Texas, putting residents on edge. On Monday, two package bombs exploded. In one blast, a teenager died. In another, just a few miles away, two women were wounded. It mirrors an incident in Austin from two weeks ago when a similar blast left one man dead.

Investigators believe that the bombings are likely connected, according to The Associated Press. They are also looking into whether or not race was a factor as all the victims have been either black or Hispanic. The victim of the first blast two weeks ago has been identified as Anthony Stephan House (pictured), a 39-year-old African-American man and the stepson of Freddie Dixon, a former pastor at a historic black church in the city, The Washington Post reported. Dixon was reportedly friends with the grandfather of the teenager who was killed.

“This is the third in what we believe to be related incidents over the past 10 days,” Police Chief Brian Manley said during a press briefing on Monday. He suggested that the bombings may be constituted as hate crimes. Later, he backtracked and stated that a motive has not been uncovered.

Declining to go into specific details about how the packages looked, Manley did say that they were “average-size” and box-shaped. None of the deadly packages actually went through the mail. Instead, they appear to have been left on doorsteps of homes.

"One of the residents went out front, and there was a package on the front doorstep," Manley said of the first blast on Monday, which killed the teen and wounded a woman (neither of which has been identified yet.) "They brought that package inside the residence, and as they opened that package, both victims were in the kitchen, and the package exploded, causing the injuries that resulted in the young man's death and the injuries to the adult female."

Mondays’ explosions happened just as music festival SXSW began kicking off.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton warned all residents to be cautious. 

Manley warned residents that if they see a suspicious package to call 911.

[Photo: Austin Police Department]

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