Authorities believe that an explosion which injured one FedEx team member at a facility in Schertz, Texas is related to four prior bombings in Austin. FedEx spokesman Jim McClusky told CNN that the employee suffered minor injuries. FBI spokeswoman Michelle Lee said that the agency does not believe that the blast was a random act.
NPR reported that the blast occurred at around 12:25 a.m. CST on Tuesday morning at the facility, which is located northeast of San Antonio. The outlet reported that the package was being shipped to Austin. According to CBS Austin, the package was moving along a conveyor belt down to a lower section of track when it exploded. Reportedly, the package “contained shrapnel consisting of nails and pieces of metal.”
McClusky said in a statement, according to CNN, that “no additional specific information” related to the package will be released at this time. However, the FBI’s preliminary investigation has led the agency to suspect that this incident is related to the four explosions in Austin. These blasts claimed the lives of two Black people while injuring four other victims.
In the prior incidents, none of the explosives were delivered using the United States Postal Service or a shipping agency like UPS or FedEx. The first three explosions involved packages made of cardboard placed on the front porch or in the victims’ yards.
The fourth incident, which occurred on Sunday, is believed to have been triggered by a tripwire. The package was left on the side of the road in a residential neighborhood, according to CNN. The two men who were injured were said to be either riding their bikes or pushing them when the bomb was detonated. They were taken to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center and are reportedly in “good condition.”
Police Chief Brian Manley said during a press conference that the Austin Police Department believes that the incidents “were meant to send a message.” A reward of $115,000 has been offered for any information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for these crimes. They have also asked residents to be vigilant about reporting any and all tips to police, no matter how seemingly insignificant they might appear to be. Manley has also asked that they avoid any and all suspicious objects and situations.
“We now need the community to have extra level of vigilance and pay attention to any suspicious device,” Manley said. “Whether it be a package or a bag, a backpack — anything that looks out of place. And do not approach items like that.”