AUSTIN, Texas (CN) – A Sunday night explosion triggered by a trip wire left two men seriously injured in an incident that police in Austin, Texas, say is connected to three other bombings this month.
Austin-Travis County EMS transported two men in their 20s to an area hospital with non life-threatening injuries after responding to a call of an explosion around 8:30 Sunday night. Early Monday morning, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said the device was likely activated “by someone either handling, kicking, or coming in contact with a trip wire.”
“We now need this community to have an extra level of vigilance and pay attention to any suspicious device, whether it be a package, a bag, a backpack, anything that looks out of place,” Manley said. “And do not approach it.”
He told reporters that the men were either riding or pushing bicycles when a suspicious package that was left on the side of the road detonated. In the first three explosions, package bombs left on doorsteps went off after being handled by residents, killing two and injuring two more.
Anthony Stephan House, 39, was killed March 2 after handling a box left on his front porch. Police initially thought it was an isolated incident but have since reclassified the case from a suspicious death to a homicide investigation.
Ten days later, 17-year-old Draylen William Mason was killed after his mother opened a package left at their doorstep. Later that Monday morning, a 75-year-old woman was injured when she handled a package left near her home.
More than 500 law enforcement personnel are actively involved in the investigation and a total of $115,000 has been offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction. The announcement seeking information from the public came just hours before the fourth bombing.
Authorities shut down the Travis Country neighborhood in southwestern Austin after the latest blast until 10 a.m. Monday. Multiple state and federal law enforcement agencies, including Austin Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives continued to search for clues.