Austin bombings: Suspect dead, say US media

Police officers investigate an incident they say involved an incendiary device in Austin, Texas, 20 March 2018
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Police investigate an incident involving explosives in Austin on Tuesday

A suspect linked with a series of deadly parcel bombs targeting Austin, Texas, is dead after a major police operation, US media report.

The suspect was killed after reportedly detonating a device off an interstate highway in the Round Rock area of the state capital, CBS News reports.

FBI agents are reportedly now carrying out an investigation at the scene.

The incident follows four bomb attacks in Austin, the state capital, and one in Schertz, 65 miles (104km) south.

CCTV images of a “person of interest” were earlier shared on US media showing a white male with blond hair carrying a number of large packages at a FedEx store in Austin.

The Austin police department is expected to give a media briefing soon.

Austin has been on edge amid the attacks, which have led to the deployment of hundreds of police officers to the city.

Two people have been killed and six injured in the bombings.

How did events unfold on Wednesday?

Police reportedly used footage from a FedEx store on Brodie Lane in south Austin to help identify the suspect, local news channel KVUE reported.

Authorities then used the Google search engine to gather information on the suspect’s online browsing history, which showed searches on facilities which were used to ship packages.

On Wednesday morning, the Austin police department tweeted that an officer had been involved in a shooting off a highway in the city.

KVUE later reported that the tweet related to a suspect linked to a series of parcel bombings, adding that the FBI were at the scene of a huge police operation.

While the suspect attempted to avoid arrest, a device was detonated and the suspect was killed, according to KVUE.

What do we know about the bombings?

Authorities have said that a series of blasts that began in Austin in early March – involving package bombs and a tripwire – were all related:

  • 2 March: A device explodes at Anthony Stephan House’s home in Austin, killing the 29-year-old man
  • 13 March: Hours later, a 75-year-old Hispanic woman, who has not been named, is injured by another package in the state capital
  • 18 March: A device injures two men who may have set off a tripwire while walking along a street in Austin
  • 20 March: A parcel bomb explodes at a FedEx depot in Schertz, slightly injuring one person. Police said the parcel had been due to be shipped to Austin

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Media captionTexas explosions: What we know about bombings

What has President Trump said?

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that “a very, very sick individual, or maybe individuals” carried out the blasts and pledged justice for the victims.

“The bombings in Austin are terrible,” he said on Tuesday.

“This is obviously a very, very sick individual, or maybe individuals.

“We will get to the bottom of it. We will be very strong.”

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