The man believed to be behind a series of package bombings in Austin, TX over the past 19 days killed himself to avoid capture early Wednesday, police said.
Law enforcement officials have since told NBC that the suspect was identified as Mark Anthony Conditt, a 24-year-old white man who initiated a serial bombing campaign that killed two people and injured four others.
BREAKING: Austin serial bombing suspect identified as 24-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt, according to two law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation pic.twitter.com/p7s2SR2La2
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 21, 2018
Conditt reportedly detonated a bomb inside his car as police closed in on him off Interstate 35 near a hotel in Round Rock, TX, in the Austin metropolitan area. He was killed by the blast. There were also reports of an officer-involved shooting just prior to the detonation.
Many of Conditt’s victims were people of color, including Anthony Stephan House, 39, who was killed by the first bomb on March 2, and Draylen Mason, 17, who was killed on March 10 in a blast that also injured his mother. The third bomb severely injured Esperanza Herrera, 75, who picked up a suspicious package that was meant for another address, police said. A fourth bomb, detonated via trip wire, injured two more men on March 18, while a fifth bomb detonated in its package on March 20 at a FedEx in Schertz, TX, and was bound for Austin. There were no injuries in that blast.
BREAKING: Exclusive photos of Austin bombing 'Person of Interest' dropping off 2 packages at Austin @FedEx store. Believed to be wearing wig.
Recognize him? Contact: @FBI @Austin_Police
More info: https://t.co/8bVRGToc7T @News4SA @cbsaustin pic.twitter.com/mpTxxrkYfd
— Randy Beamer (@randybeamer) March 21, 2018
Police tracked the suspect using a combination of cell phone technology, store surveillance footage and FedEx receipts, which led to his identity and the vehicle he was driving.
Police warned the community to stay vigilant in case the suspect had left other bombs — a possibility they are still investigating.
“We don’t know where this suspect has spent his last 24 hours and therefore we still need to remain vigilant to ensure that no other packages or devices have been left to the community,” Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said.
Conditt’s motives are still unclear, authorities have said, though it is believed he acted alone.
President Donald Trump celebrated the attacker’s death on Twitter Wednesday morning, though he had previously been quiet on the matter.
“AUSTIN BOMBING SUSPECT IS DEAD. Great job by law enforcement and all concerned!” Trump tweeted.
AUSTIN BOMBING SUSPECT IS DEAD. Great job by law enforcement and all concerned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2018
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday said the attacks had “no apparent nexus to terrorism.”