Texas Capital on Edge After Fifth Package Explosion

SAN ANTONIO (CN) – A package believed to be destined for Austin that exploded Tuesday morning at a FedEx sorting facility left one employee with minor injuries and has law enforcement investigating the latest in a string of blasts that have rocked Texas’ capital city.

Emergency vehicles sit in front of a FedEx distribution center where a package exploded, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, in Schertz, Texas. Authorities believe the package bomb is linked to the recent string of Austin bombings. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

A medium-sized package exploded just after midnight while traveling along an automated conveyer at the FedEx facility in Schertz, Texas, about 30 miles northeast of San Antonio.

Schertz Police Chief Michael Hansen said one employee who had been standing near the explosion later complained of “ringing in the ears.” She was treated on-scene and released.

A second package found is believed to have also contained an explosive device, according to San Antonio Police Chief William McManus. He told reporters Tuesday morning that law enforcement removed the second package from the facility without incident, and that the employee injured in the explosion had been “knocked to her feet” and suffered a concussion.

FedEx confirmed in a statement that the individual responsible also shipped a second package that has now been secured.

“We have provided law enforcement extensive evidence related to these packages and the individual that shipped them collected from our advanced technology security systems,” the company said. “The safety and security measures in place across the FedEx networks are designed to protect the safety of our people, customers and communities, and to assist law enforcement as appropriate.”

Police and a hazardous-materials team were later sent to at least two FedEx facilities in Austin to check on suspicious packages. It is still unknown whether those packages contained explosives.

Hundreds of state and federal law enforcement officials have already been on the hunt for what authorities have deemed a “serial bomber” after four earlier explosions in Austin this month, putting residents on edge.

The latest incident in the Texas capital happened Sunday night when two men in their early 20s triggered a trip wire while walking their bicycles. They suffered non-life threatening injuries when a package 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. None of the packages in those explosions were mailed through any mail delivery services.

The Schertz police chief said while it was still early in the investigation, he was “confident” the target was not the FedEx facility, or any location in Schertz. The city of about 39,400 people is some 60 miles south of downtown Austin.

Authorities are again cautioning residents to call 911 before opening any suspicious or unexpected package.

A total of $115,000 has been offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

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