Austin, TX – Two package bombs exploded in Austin on Monday, killing one teenager and wounding two women, one of them critically.
Authorities believe both package explosions were related to a blast that killed a man on March 2, and they have warned residents of the area to call the police if they receive any unexpected packages, ABC News reported.
“It is very similar to the incident that occurred in Austin on March 2,” Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told reporters at a press briefing.
On Monday morning, a package bomb exploded at about 6:45 a.m. in a neighborhood on the northeast side of the city, the chief said.
A 17-year-old found a package on the front steps of his house, brought it inside, and opened it up in the kitchen, where it exploded, FOX News reported.
The teenager was killed, and a 40-year-old woman was seriously injured, police said.
At about 11:50 a.m., police received a call about a second blast nearby.
A package had exploded in the Montopolis neighborhood, southeast of downtown Austin, according to FOX News.
On Monday afternoon, Chief Manley said that in the second incident, a 75-year-old Hispanic woman had opened a package that she found outside her home, and it exploded, too.
The woman was “significantly injured” by the blast and had life-threatening injuries, the chief said.
Police have linked both of Monday’s explosions to the package that killed 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House two weeks ago. All three explosions took place within 16 miles of each other.
House was killed after a “device” exploded on the front porch of his home in the city’s northeast Harris Ridge neighborhood, about 12 miles north of Monday’s first blast, FOX News reported.
Two of the three explosions occurred in the early-morning hours, police said. Both of those packages were left overnight on the victims’ doorsteps, and were not mailed or sent by a delivery service, ABC News reported.
Chief Manley said that neither the Postal Service, nor private carriers such as UPS or FedEx, had a record of delivering the package to the home where Monday’s explosion first explosion occurred.
Investigators have not ruled out race as a motive.
“We don’t know what the motive behind these may be,” Chief Manley said. “We do know that both of the homes that were the recipients of these packages belong to African-Americans, so we cannot rule out that hate crime is at the core of this.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.
Chief Manley said the damage inside the home from the first explosion on Monday was “significant.” He said investigators were seeking surveillance footage from nearby homes to examine and look for clues to who delivered the explosive packages.
Authorities have not released the name of the teenager who was killed, or the names of any of the women who were injured in the blasts on Monday.
Police found a second package near the site of Monday’s first explosion, and evacuated residents and media from the immediate area while law enforcement determined whether the device was another bomb, the chief said.
Austin police have taken the lead on all three local investigations into the explosions, FOX News reported.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent Michelle Lee said the FBI had responded to both events, and was assisting Austin police, but that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was leading the federal investigation.