Austin bombings targeting people of color leave many questions and terror in their wake
Police in Austin, Texas are scrambling following two bombings this week which they say are connected to an earlier bombing on March 2nd that killed 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House. Initially, the Austin police suspected that House may have put the bomb together himself until the last two explosions rocked the city and the country.
The two additional pipe bombs were hidden inside what Austin police chief Brian Manley describes as “average sized delivery boxes, not exceptionally large.” Both detonated, killing 17-year-old Austin student Draylen Mason and critically injuring a 75-year-old Latina woman.
Initial reports suggested that because these bombs looked like packages, like those used by “the Unabomber” Theodore “Ted” Kaczynski, they were mail bombs. However, it now seems the Austin serial bomber placed these packages themselves.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the families of two of the bomb victims knew each other and were connected through local activism channels, according to Austin NAACP president Nelson Linder. The stepfather of House, Freddie Dixon was a leader of the African American Cultural Heritage District and went on record in 2015 speaking against the rampant gentrification of East Austin, which is predominantly Black and Latinx. Linder does not believe this connection is one that should be taken lightly.
The Austin Police Department has been encouraging citizens not to open any suspicious packages and to call in, which has lead to around 150 reports. So far, none of these calls have lead back to the serial bomber, who is still at large.
Texas Governor Greg Abbot has put forth $50,000 in addition to the $50,000 FBI and the Austin Police Department have offered for any information leading to the capture of whoever is responsible for the attacks. The police are not ruling out the possibility of a hate crime.
Video of Austin PD urging citizens to call in suspicious packages:
.@chief_manley advising everyone in Austin to be cautious if they receive a package ? and weren't expecting one. If you see something suspicious please dial 9-1-1 so we can send officers out to assist you. #safety #austinpd #atx pic.twitter.com/hA7Tv0bT0E
— Austin Police Dept (@Austin_Police) March 12, 2018