AUSTIN, Texas (CN) – One teenager was killed and two women were injured in a series of explosions Monday morning that police say could be linked to a third bombing in Austin earlier this month.
The first explosion killed a 17-year-old male and seriously wounded a woman as they opened a package left on their front doorstep around 6:45 Monday morning.
“They brought that package inside the residence, and as they opened that package, both victims were in the kitchen, and the package exploded,” Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said at a news conference, telling reporters that the woman is expected to survive.
A few hours later, Austin-Travis County EMS responded to a second blast that left a 70-year-old woman with potentially life-threatening injuries. A second 80-year-old patient was treated at the scene for an unrelated medical issue.
The Monday morning explosions are eerily similar to a March 2 package bombing that killed 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House. Police have now reclassified that case from a suspicious death to a homicide investigation.
“We are looking at anything that might tie these two together,” Manley said just before noon, prior to the third explosion. “There are similarities that we cannot rule out that these two incidents are in fact related.”
Manley said that police are also not ruling out the possibility of a hate crime, as African-Americans were the victims in both the March 2 bombing and the first Monday morning explosion.
“As you can imagine with an explosion such as this, the damage is significant and there’s a lot of evidence that needs to be collected,” Manley said.
Authorities are cautioning anybody who receives an unexpected or suspicious looking package to call 911 before opening it.
“We are not going to tolerate this in Austin,” Manley said. “You will see that every stop will be pulled out.”