On March 2, 2018, 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House was killed in his Austin, Texas, home after a package left on his doorstep exploded. On Monday morning, March 12, 2018, a similar incident occurred when another package exploded in an Austin residence located at Old Fort Hill Dr. The explosion killed a 17-year-old boy and wounded a 40-year-old woman. The teenager died at the scene, and the wounded woman suffered potential life-threatening injuries. Bomb-sniffing dogs were spotted on the scene, and neighbors were evacuated.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley relayed that both incidents are being treated as homicides. As CBS News reported, the two Austin explosions have similarities and officials believe they are linked. In both explosions, packages were left at the doorstep of the Austin residences, likely during late night hours, and they were not delivered by the postal service. Both packages were opened by the residents during the early morning hours.
The victims of the above-mentioned explosions are African-American, and officials aren’t ruling out the possibility of this being a hate crime. But the police chief emphasized that they are not officially stating that this is a hate crime, but that they haven’t ruled that out as a possible motive. He also spoke of the similarities and warned residents of Austin to call 9-1-1 if they receive a mysterious package on their front door, and to not open the package.
#Breaking: Some of the first images out of Austin, TX, after package explodes, killing teen & wounding woman. Potential second suspicious package nearby. Case is similar to another package explosion that killed a man last week in Austin. Bomb squad & robots on scene. #KOMOnews pic.twitter.com/OWkAqQCrWM
— Cayle Thompson, KOMO (@CayleThompson) March 12, 2018
My San Antonio reported that Manley said that a second package was discovered close to the location of Monday’s explosion. The publication also stated that the FBI was now investigating the explosions, making this a federal investigation. A San Antonio-based spokeswoman for the FBI, Special Agent Michelle Lee, said that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were taking the lead on the investigation of the explosions.
As the Statesman reported, just hours after the above incident, a second blast occurred on Monday morning in Austin shortly before noon. A woman, reported to be in her 70s, was injured in her home at the 6700 block of Galindo Street (just roughly five or six miles away from the first blast that occurred Monday morning). The woman was taken to Dell Seton Medical Center with potentially life-threatening injuries.
Officials have not yet remarked on whether they think this blast is related to the other two explosions, and whether it was caused by a similar package. This marks the third tragic explosion in an Austin residence during March 2018.