Investigators suspect FedEx bomb tied to Austin bombings


AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A package bomb that authorities believe is linked to the recent string of Austin bombings exploded early Tuesday inside of a FedEx distribution center near San Antonio, possibly leaving one person with minor injuries.

The explosion happened at around 1 a.m. at a FedEx facility in Schertz, which is just northeast of San Antonio, FBI Special Agent Michelle Lee said. She said early indications were that no one was injured, but the Schertz Police Department issued a statement saying one person was treated at the scene and released.

Lee said that although it is still early in the investigation, “it would be silly for us not to admit that we suspect it’s related” to the four Austin bombings that have killed two people and injured four others since March 2. The latest bombing injured two men Sunday in southwest Austin’s quiet Travis Country neighborhood.

Lee didn’t have details about the size, weight or description of the package.

The blast follows a Sunday night blast that was triggered along a street by a nearly invisible tripwire, suggesting a “higher level of sophistication” than agents saw in three early package bombs left on doorsteps. It means the carnage by a suspected serial bomber that has terrorized Austin for weeks is now random, rather than targeted at someone in particular.

Authorities haven’t identified Sunday night’s victims. But William Grote told The Associated Press that his grandson was one of the two wounded men, and that he had what appeared to be nails embedded in his knees. Police described the men’s injuries as significant, and both remained hospitalized in stable condition on Monday.

Grote said his grandson is cognizant but still in a lot of pain. He said the night of the bombing, one of the victims was riding a bike in the street and the other was on a sidewalk when they crossed a tripwire that he said knocked “them both off their feet.”

“It was so dark they couldn’t tell and they tripped,” he said. “They didn’t see it. It was a wire. And it blew up.”

Grote said his son, who lives about 100 yards (90 meters) from the blast, heard the explosion and raced outside. “Both of them were kind of bleeding profusely,” Grote said.

That was a departure from the three earlier bombings, which involved parcels left on doorsteps that detonated when moved or opened.

The tripwire twist heightened the fear around Austin, a town famous for its cool, hipster attitude.

“It’s creepy,” said Erin Mays, 33. “I’m not a scared person, but this feels very next-door-neighbor kind of stuff.”

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