The Latest: Austin residents scared, confused by bombings

Fred Milanowski, Brian Manley, Christopher Combs, Troy Gay Photo: AP
Fred Milanowski, Brian Manley, Christopher Combs, Troy Gay

March 19, 2018 12:52 PM

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Latest on the bombings in Austin, Texas (all times local):

12:40 p.m.

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Those who live in the Austin neighborhood where the latest in a string of bombings injured two men are expressing a mix of fear and other emotions, including surprise and confusion.

Laura McGinnis, who lives in the Travis Country neighborhood in southwestern Austin, said Monday that Sunday night's attack is frightening but that it hasn't personally affected her yet. However, she says the bombing and three others elsewhere in the city this month make her wonder why the bomber hasn't been caught.

Adam McGinnis, who also lives in the neighborhood, says he was reading on his back porch Sunday night when he heard what sounded like a large gun blast. He says he figured it must have been a transformer that blew and didn't realize it was a bombing until his wife told him Monday morning.

Authorities say they believe all four blasts are the work of a serial bomber. The attacks have killed two people and injured four others.

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12:10 p.m.

An FBI investigator says he hopes the latest bombing in Texas' capital city isn't the bomber's way of reaching out to law enforcement.

Authorities have been calling on the person or people behind this month's string of bombings in Austin to let them know the reasons for the attacks.

Christopher Combs, the special agent in charge of the FBI's San Antonio division, told The Associated Press on Monday that investigators are looking for a dialogue with the bomber. He notes that the stakes "went up a lot" on Sunday with the bomber's use of a tripwire. Two men were seriously injured.

Combs, who is investigating the Austin attacks, says, "The bomber has obviously shown us that he has the ability to make more complex devices, to hurt more people, to be more random. And that's not good. That why we need to talk to the bomber about what is going on."

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11:45 a.m.

Authorities say the latest bomb to go off in the Texas capital of Austin was anchored to a metal yard sign near a hiking trail and equipped with a fishing line-thin tripwire.

Frederick Milanowski, the special agent in charge for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said at a news conference Monday that the wire or filament that detonated the bomb Sunday night would have been very difficult to see.

Two men received significant injuries in the blast. Authorities say that although it is different from the three package bombings that killed two people and injured two others elsewhere in the city this month, they believe they are all the work of a serial bomber or bombers.

Milanowski says investigators have received more than 500 leads since the first bombing on March 2 and they are looking at several persons of interest.

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11:20 a.m.

Austin's police chief says officers have completed a sweep of the neighborhood where the latest in a string of bombings occurred and deemed it safe, but he asked those who live there to remain indoors until 2 p.m.

Police Chief Brian Manley said at a news conference Monday that although officers didn't find anything suspicious while canvassing the southwestern Austin residential neighborhood of Travis Country, investigators are still collecting evidence.

Authorities say that although Sunday night's bombing differed from three earlier this month, they believe they were the work of a serial bomber or bombers. Two men received significant injuries in Sunday's attack. It apparently involved a bomb placed alongside a fence and a tripwire that the men triggered while walking their bikes between the fence and a street.

The first three attacks used package bombs left on people's doorsteps. Those attacks killed two people and injured two others.

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11 a.m.

Authorities are urging the public to provide surveillance video that could assist in the investigation into the string of bombings in the Texas capital of Austin.

During a news conference Monday, police Chief Brian Manley asked homeowners and others to forward video to investigators that might offer insight into the bombing Sunday night or three earlier this month.

The latest explosion injured two men in their 20s who were riding or walking their bicycles through a neighborhood in southwestern Austin. The earlier blasts killed two people and injured two others and happened in other parts of the city.

Authorities say the device that detonated Sunday featured a tripwire and was left near a road, while the prior bombings involved packages left on people's doorsteps.

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10:50 a.m.

Austin's police chief says the four bombings that have killed two people and injured four others in Texas' capital city this month are believed to be the work of a serial bomber.

Police Chief Brian Manley said at a news conference Monday that Sunday night's explosion that injured two men marks a "significant change" from the first three because it was triggered by a tripwire that would have hit any random person walking by it. The first three attacks were carried out with package bombs left on people's doorsteps.

Manley says as investigators search for a pattern in the attacks, they will try to determine if there is a specific ideology motivating them.

The attack Sunday happened in a southwestern Austin residential neighborhood that isn't close to the sites of the first three attacks.

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10:25 a.m.

Authorities have called on the person or people behind the bombings in Austin, Texas, to reach out to the police to let them know why they're setting off the explosives.

Police Chief Brian Manley said Monday that it's too soon to say whether Sunday night's bombing that injured two men could have been a response to his call for those behind the bombings to reach out.

Manley says investigators see "similarities" between Sunday night's bomb and three others this month that killed two people and injured two others. But he says Sunday's differed in that it involved a tripwire whereas the others were package bombs left on people's doorsteps.

Frederick Milanowski, the special agent in charge for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, says the latest bomb is "more sophisticated" because it used a tripwire.

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10:15 a.m.

Authorities say investigators see "similarities" between the latest bomb to detonate in Texas' capital city and three bombs that went off earlier this month.

Police Chief Brian Manley said at a news conference Monday that although the bomb that injured two men Sunday night seems linked to the three previous ones, the latest bomb involved a tripwire and those three were package bombs left on people's doorsteps.

Frederick Milanowski, the special agent in charge for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, says the latest bomb is "more sophisticated" because it used a tripwire.

Manley says the two victims are men ages 22 and 23 and that they are hospitalized in stable condition with significant injuries.

Both men are white, as opposed to the victims of the three prior bombings, who were black or Hispanic. Those attacks killed two people and injured two others.

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9 a.m.

Austin's mayor says growing anxieties are "legitimate and real" following the fourth bombing in the city this month.

Mayor Steve Adler told The Associated Press on Monday that residents shouldn't think twice about calling 911 if they see anything suspicious. A blast occurred Sunday night in a neighborhood far from the sites of the three package bombings in Austin this month.

Police haven't confirmed the latest explosion, which injured two men who were riding or pushing bikes, is related to the first three, but they're looking into the possibility.

Authorities say Sunday's explosion was detonated by a tripwire and showed a different level of skill from previous blasts. Adler says the concern now is that "the methodology has changed."

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8:30 a.m.

Austin's police chief says the two men injured in the most recent bombing in Austin were riding or pushing bicycles when the explosives detonated.

Police Chief Brian Manley told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Monday that Sunday night's explosion was detonated by a tripwire and showed "a different level of skill." The attack differed from three earlier blasts in Austin this month, which were caused by package bombs left on people's doorsteps.

The men injured in Sunday's blast were white, unlike the victims of the first three bombings, who were black or Hispanic.

Authorities have cordoned off the neighborhood where the bomb went off Sunday night and have warned residents to remain indoors while officers check for anything suspicious.

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8:20 a.m.

The University of Texas' campus police force is warning students returning from spring break to be aware of the four recent bombings to hit Austin, saying, "We must look out for one another."

In a tweet Monday, UT Austin police said, "When you get on campus this morning ASK your friends if they've heard about the bombings. TELL them about the incidents."

It also urged students to report suspicious items to the authorities. Classes were resuming Monday after a week off.

A blast triggered by a tripwire in a residential neighborhood Sunday night injured two men. Three previous package bombs detonated in different parts of the city since March 2, killing two people and injured two more.

None of those incidents were close to the university's sprawling campus near the heart of Austin.

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8 a.m.

Austin's police chief says the latest bombing to hit the city was detonated by a tripwire, "showing a different level of skill."

Police Chief Brian Manley told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Monday that both of the men injured in Sunday night's blast are white, unlike the victims in the city's three previous bombings this month, who were black or Hispanic.

Sunday night's explosion happened in the southwestern Austin residential neighborhood of Travis Country. The three previous bombings happened two-plus weeks in residential neighborhoods east of Interstate 35, which divides the city.

Authorities have warned Travis Country residents to remain indoors until 10 a.m. as police scour the area for anything suspicious.

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7:25 a.m.

Police have warned residents near the site of the latest explosion in Austin to remain indoors and to call 911 if they need to leave home before 10 a.m.

Authorities say Sunday night's explosion in the Travis Country neighborhood in southwestern Austin injured two men and may have been triggered by a tripwire. The police chief repeated his warning to residents not to touch or approach suspicious packages.

Investigators are trying to determine whether the blast is related to three package bombings this month in other parts of the city that killed two people and injured two others.

Austin's school district announced that buses wouldn't be going into the Travis Country neighborhood.

Authorities had already offered $115,000 in rewards for information leading to an arrest in the first three bombings.

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(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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