What makes this blast especially terrifying is that it could have maimed any passerby. The explosive device was left on the side of the road, and the blast may be been triggered by a tripwire, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said.
Two men were injured in the Sunday blast but are expected to recover, authorities said.
Now, investigators are trying to determine if the person responsible is linked to the trio of bombings this month that killed two people and wounded two others.
- Residents living near the scene must stay indoors until 10 a.m. Monday
- The two injured men were either biking or pushing bicycles when the explosion occurred.
- Police are waiting for daylight to process the scene.
‘Extra level of vigilance’ needed
The two men, in their 20s, were taken to a hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries, authorities said. Both patients are in good condition, a spokesperson at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center told CNN.
The circumstances of Sunday’s incident were a little different from previous explosions, the police chief said.
“We’re not believing that this was similar to previous ones, as in packages left on doorsteps. But instead, this was some type of suspicious package that was left on the side of the road, that detonated and injured these two men,” Manley said.
The men had been biking or walking their bicycles in southwest Austin when the explosion happened.
“What we do understand now, is that the possibility exists this device was triggered in a different mechanism — that being a tripwire,” he said.
Police and the FBI responded to the scene Sunday.
The latest explosion comes less than a week after police said three previous package explosions — in a span of 10 days — were connected. Those explosions killed a man and a teenager, and injured two others.
Police are working under the belief that the explosions are related. Manley said they’ll get a better idea with a post-blast analysis and examination of the device components.
In the meantime, Manley told residents not to touch or go near anything that looks suspicious.
On Monday morning, he warned: “We now need the community to have an extra level of vigilance and pay attention to any suspicious device — whether it be a package or a bag, a backpack — anything that looks out of place. And do not approach items like that.”
‘It’s a family neighborhood’
Stan Malachowski, who lives about half a mile away, said he heard a loud explosion.
“This is a quiet neighborhood. It’s a family neighborhood. It’s concerning.”
Police warned residents in the immediate area to stay inside their homes until at least 10 a.m. All three entrances to the neighborhood have been blocked off.
Regents School of Austin, a nearby private school, will open two hours late Monday for “a complete security sweep,” it said in a statement.
But unlike the first three bombings, which happened in east Austin, the latest attack happened in a predominately white part of town.
The reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever’s responsible for the three explosions increased to a total of $115,000, authorities said earlier Sunday.
“We believe that the recent explosive incidents that have occurred in the city of Austin were meant to send a message,” Manley said in a news conference.
“We hope this person or persons is watching and will reach out to us before anyone else is injured or anyone else is killed out of this event,” he added.
Officials have urged residents to call police with any tips they may have, even if the information seems to be “inconsequential.”
CNN’s Ed Lavandera in Austin, Texas, and CNN’s Sheena Jones, Jason Morris, Amir Vera, Janet DiGiacomo and Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this report.
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