Austin bomber’s motive is to cause ‘mayhem and death’

While police still don't know the identity or exact motive of the Austin bomber, one thing is clear: the motive is to cause "mayhem and death," a federal law enforcement official said late Tuesday.

Since March 2, authorities believe a "serial bomber" has been terrorizing the Texas capital, leaving several explosive packages around the city.

A package exploded at a FedEx sorting center near San Antonio on Tuesday, and a second package bomb was discovered, unexploded, on the same day at another FedEx facility near Austin. Those two packages are connected to the earlier four bombings, which left two people dead.

The bomber doesn't appear to be targeting one group, the source said.

A possible explosion reported Tuesday night at a Goodwill store in Austin turned out to be unrelated. In that incident, an employee was injured by two "artillery simulators" in a donation box, said Ely Reyes, Austin's assistant police chief.

Latest developments

Jittery city: The latest bombing Tuesday, which suggested the bomber is changing tactics, left residents terrified.

Secured: FedEx said the person who sent the package that exploded Tuesday also shipped a second one that was turned over to law enforcement officials.

Evidence: The company said it provided authorities with "extensive evidence" from its security system on the packages and the person who shipped them.

Connected: Austin police and the FBI say the two packages at separate FedEx facilities are connected to the four previous package explosions in the Texas capital.

Wrong target: In the incident near San Antonio, the device detonated on an automatic conveyor, Police Chief Michael Hansen said; the FedEx facility was not the intended target. A female employee was treated on site and released.

Unrelated: The Goodwill employee was injured when one of the "artillery simulators" in the box of donated items "initiated," Reyes said. The employee was treated and released from a hospital, Reyes said.

Numerous calls: Austin Police say they have responded to 1,257 reports of suspicious packages since March 12.

The investigation

As investigators search for answers, they are checking the cameras at the facilities from Tuesday's incidents, the source said.

Investigators believe the same person is behind all the devices, the source said, adding that the devices have a lot of consistencies. They are similar in the way they are made and use the same items, including a "mouse trap" or a "close pin" switch, according to the source.

"We made one to show everyone what it looks like and we did it in an hour," the source said. The the bombmaker may have taken longer to do it to avoid blowing themselves up, according to the source.

The level of bombmaking skill doesn't necessarily point to military experience, the source added.

Investigators said the package that was found intact Tuesday may yield some clues.

"Now we have the blueprint and possible DNA on the inside of the bomb. So teams are working to render it safe and then look for DNA," the source said. The outside of the package would have been touched by employees at the Kinko store where it was dropped off and by the bombmaker, the source said.

The source says the bombmaker may have been wearing gloves.

The four Austin bombings

In Austin, authorities have been combing for clues to the four explosions there, the first three of which involved cardboard packages left in front yards or on porches. They weren't delivered by the US Postal Service or services such as UPS or FedEx, police say.

Those three explosions -- one on March 2 and two more on March 12 -- killed or wounded three African-Americans and one Hispanic person. The blasts happened in east Austin areas with predominantly minority residents, and some in the area expressed concern the attacks might have been racially motivated.

Police have not ruled out the possibility that those bombings could be hate crimes.

In the fourth blast, a device Sunday was triggered by a tripwire, injuring two white men, police said. It had been left on the side of a road in a predominantly white area.

This BBSNews article was syndicated from News | WPLG, and written by News | WPLG. Read the original article here.

This BBSNews article originally appeared on News | WPLG.