Austin Bombings Prompt Police Warning After Tripwire Triggers Bomb Left By Possible Serial Bomber

Eric GayAP Images

Authorities in Austin are looking at a new and more sophisticated type of bomb that emerged Sunday night in the fourth recent bombing in that city. The latest bomb was a tripwire device that exploded on a neighborhood street. This comes on the heels of the delivery box bombs left on the doorsteps of homes in Austin. The latest bomb to go off was placed by the side of a road and the explosion seriously injured two men, the Austin Police Department confirmed today.

On Sunday night at about 8:30 p.m., two men riding bicycles triggered a tripwire that was rigged so it would blend in with the surroundings, police report. This tripwire bomb follows the three delivery box bombs that have killed two people in the city and put one person in the hospital. Police announced that this is possibly the work of a serial bomber, after the fourth bomb went off, reports the Washington Post.

According to NPR News, the Austin Police Department said at a press conference today that this fourth exploding device in Austin “indicates a serial bomber.” This person is “more sophisticated than the earlier bombs suggested.”

The Tribune spoke with William Grote, who is the grandfather of one of the men injured in Sunday night’s bomb explosion. He described what his grandson had just been through. He said, “One of them was riding a bike in the street and the other was on a sidewalk when they crossed a tripwire.” Grote said that it knocked “them both off their feet” and both men were “bleeding profusely.” It appeared that his grandson was covered in nails below his knees, said Grote.

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Members of the Austin Police Department along with agents from the FBI have been looking for an unknown person who has left bombs in delivery boxes at the front doors of three of the city’s homes. They were left for unsuspecting residents to find. When the boxes were jarred or opened, they exploded. These bombs killed two people and put another victim in the hospital.

Christopher Combs, who is the special agent in charge of the FBI’s San Antonio office, talked with reporters today, according to KIOS.org. Combs said,

“With this tripwire, this changes things. It’s more sophisticated. It’s not targeted to individuals. We’re very concerned that with tripwires, a child could be walking down a sidewalk and hit something.”

The two men who triggered the tripwire in Sunday night’s explosion were hospitalized with serious injuries when the bomb that was planted in their Southwest Austin neighborhood exploded. They are expected to survive. The tripwire was tied between the bomb and a street sign, causing the bomb to go off as soon as they ran into the tripwire. The bomb was placed alongside a fence and the tripwire attached to the device appeared to be a fishing line.

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The latest victims of the Sunday night bomb are white males ages 22 and 23. It was first thought that the bomb packages might be racially motivated as the three previous bombs were left at homes of people of color, according to an earlier NPR report. But Sunday night’s bomb appeared randomly and didn’t target anyone specifically. It appeared to be left for just whoever happened along and triggered the tripwire.

The people in Austin are terrorized over this, reports Fox News in their live broadcast Monday night. CBS News at 6 p.m. reports this is the top investigation in the country right now for the ATF. The city now has more than 500 agents working on these bombings trying to find a suspect or suspects in this case. KIOS.org spoke with an Austin resident who lives in the area of Sunday night’s bomb. Shelly Leath told reporters,

“We have been conditioned… over the last week, week and a half to keep an eye out for packages, and that’s a fairly easy thing to do. If you didn’t order something, then don’t pick up a package on your front door,” she said. “But just walking down the street or walking your dog or rolling over a wire that can’t be seen…. It’s scary.”

The Travis County neighborhood where this fourth bomb exploded remained on lockdown today and police canvassed the area for any security cameras on the houses nearby. The police asked for the help of any homeowner in the area with a security camera. They request that you look at the video for the possibility it has picked up an image of anyone who could be a suspect in this crime.