Police in Austin, Texas said Monday that a package bomb that killed one person and injured another may be linked to another package bomb that killed another Austin man earlier this month.
Paramedics said an elderly woman was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries as result of the blast on Monday – the second explosion of the day.
Earlier Monday, at 17-year-old boy was killed and a woman was badly injured after what is believed to be a package bomb exploded at a home in the Austin neighbourhood of Windsor Park. Monday’s blast happened about 20 kilometres from where a March 2 package bombing killed a 39-year-old man.
The first blast was initially being investigated as a suspicious death but is now viewed as a homicide.
Investigators believe the attacks are related, as in both cases, the packages were left overnight on the victims’ doorsteps and were not mailed or sent by a delivery service. Authorities are investigating whether race was involved in the bombings because the victims of the first two blasts were African-American.
“There are similarities that we cannot rule out that these two items are, in fact, related,” Austin’s police chief, Brian Manley said early Monday.
Monday’s incidents happened as thousands of visitors heading into the city for the South by Southwest music, film and technology festival. Authorities urged residents to call the police if they receive any packages they aren’t expecting.
Manley said investigators haven’t determined a motive for the attacks, but it is possible that the victims could have been targeted because they are black.
“We don’t know what the motive behind these may be,” 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. But we’re not saying that that’s the cause as well.”
–with files from the Associated Press