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Fourth Austin Bombing Injures Two; City On High Alert
Police are now urging residents to be extremely cautious after a fourth bombing sent two men to the hospital.
Six days after a third package bomb left an elderly woman in critical condition, a fourth bomb has exploded in Austin, Texas, this one possibly triggered by a tripwire.
Two men in their 20s were rushed to the hospital after an explosion in the west of the capital just after 8:30 p.m., CNBC reports. The explosive package was reportedly left on the side of the road, and the two injured men were either riding or pushing bicycles when the explosion occurred. Their injuries are serious but not life-threatening.
Police are acting under the assumption that the latest incident is connected to the previous three explosions in the city, and say that it is "very possible" that the explosion was activated by a tripwire.
Following the explosion, police asked residents who live the near the scene of the blast to remain indoors until 10 a.m. this Monday morning in order to give authorities a chance to examine the scene in the daylight. Residents have also been warned to avoid touching any suspicious packages.
"We now need the community to have extra level of vigilance and pay attention to any suspicious device — whether it be a package or a bag, a backpack — anything that looks out of place. And do not approach items like that," Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said on Monday.
Hours before the Sunday night bombing, in another press conference, Chief Manley said that police believe the bombings were meant to send a message.
"The person or persons understands what that message is and are responsible for constructing or delivering the devices and we hope this person or persons is watching and will reach out to us before anyone else is injured or anyone else is killed out of this event," Manley said.
Because the two victims who died during the first two bombings were both African-American and members of prominent, somewhat connected families, some community members believe that the attacks may be racially motivated. Police say they are not ruling out the possibility that the bombings could be hate crimes.
Reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible has increased to a total of $115,000, with the FBI, the ATF, and the Austin Police Department now offering $100,000 for information in addition to the $15,000 previously offered by Governor Greg Abbott's office.