At least two packages have detonated in Austin, TX, just outside of the SXSW festivities, according to details confirmed by the Austin Police Department. The first explosion killed one person and injured another.
Update early March 13th: Austin authorities now believe that the two explosions are linked, and may be targeting a specific group of people. The investigation continues. Here’s our report updated from Monday, March 12th.
Two packages have now exploded around Austin, TX, with at least one death and multiple injuries.
The first package, delivered in a quiet residential area of Austin, TX, exploded early this morning and killed the person opening it. An unidentified teenager was killed, and an unidentified woman injured according to details now emerging.
This incident occurred on Oldfort Hill Dr., just north of Austin’s downtown. The victim was 17 years old, and the injured woman is in her 40s.
“My heart goes out to the family of the individual who died & was injured from the explosion on Old Fort Hill Dr.,” Austin PD chief Brian Manley stated. “This type of crime will not be tolerated in Austin. If you receive a package that you are not expecting or looks suspicious, DO NOT open it, call 911 immediately.”
The incident follows a similar package explosion that occurred just two weeks ago.
In fact, there’s also a third explosion on the southeast side of Austin. Details on that incident are emerging, though the circumstances appear very similar.
The Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Service has indicated that a woman in her 70s suffered very serious injuries as a result of the third package explosion. A second woman was also injured.
Austin Police stated that neither package was delivered by the US Postal Service. Further, it doesn’t appear that other carriers like FedEx or Amazon were handing the explosive packages. That means the packages were likely delivered by hand at night.
The explosions are raising safety questions around the overstuffed Downtown Austin, which is hosting the annual SXSW. The event features densely-packed streets both night and day.
SXSW is clearly a potential target, given the massive, tightly-packed crowds. But so far, the event has been spared any attacks.
Accidents, however, can easily turn into disasters. Back in 2014, a high-speed chase turned tragic after the pursuit spilled onto a blocked-off street. The result was a vehicular mauling that resulted in several deaths, and nearly two dozen injuries.
Manley stated that the package attacks were both directed at African-Americans, raising the possibility of a hate crime. The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are both investigating the incidents.
“We are not going to tolerate this in Austin,” Manley told reporters. “Every stop will be pulled out.”
In both cases, packages were left at the doorsteps of unsuspecting Austin residents. Once the package was brought inside, a massive explosion killed the person opening it.
More as this develops.