Manhunt ends after Texas serial bombing suspect dies in blast

The Takeaway
Law enforcement personnel investigate the scene where the Texas bombing suspect blew himself up on the side of a highway north of Austin in Round Rock, Texas, March 21, 2018.

On Wednesday, the man believed to be responsible for a rash of fatal parcel bombs in Austin, Texas, detonated a device inside a car he was using to flee police as a SWAT team approached the vehicle. The suspect died in the explosion. The suspect, now identified by multiple media outlets as 24-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt, evaded federal and local authorities for weeks as he allegedly planted packages rigged with explosives throughout various locations in Austin, killing two and injuring multiple others.

The most recent explosions on March 18 and March 20 suggested a greater degree of sophistication: One device was rigged to explode via tripwire, while another was routed through a sorting facility in San Antonio, potentially to avoid being tracked. In total, six “incendiary devices” are currently attributed to Conditt. Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told reporters early Wednesday morning that the motive for the bombings was still unclear.

"We do not understand what motivated him to do what he did, and that will also be part of the continuing investigation as we try to learn more about him and to understand why he took the actions that he did," Manley told reporters early Wednesday morning.

Manley cautioned that the whereabouts of the suspect over the previous 24 hours were still unknown, and so “we still need to remain vigilant to ensure that no other packages or devices have been left through the community.”

Retired FBI Special Agent Vickie Woosley, who worked on the notorious Unabomber case, described how federal investigators will be using the suspect’s personal history to piece together a narrative for the attacks.

“They will start now working in reverse, trying to put together a complete outline of this individual — everything from family, friends, where they worked — and get as much [of] a narrative as possible,” Woosley told PRI’s The Takeaway.

President Donald Trump told reporters on Tuesday that the person responsible is “obviously a very, very sick individual.” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders extended the president’s condolences on Twitter, adding that “there is no apparent nexus to terrorism at this time.”

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