AUSTIN, Texas ― The man suspected of setting off a series of homemade bombs in the Austin area this month, killing two people and terrorizing the city, died early Wednesday in a confrontation with police, authorities said.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said that officers had been pursuing the suspect when he detonated an explosive device in his car, killing himself and injuring one officer. Manley said that an officer also shot at the vehicle.
Authorities did not name the suspect but they identified him as a 24-year-old white male. Officials were able to track the suspect down thanks to video footage and witness testimony, Manley said. But police still don't have any understanding of the man's motive. They also don't know whether he was on his way to deliver the bomb that eventually exploded in his car.
Six bombing incidents this month ― five in Austin and another at a FedEx center near San Antonio ― have kept both officials and locals on high alert. Two people were killed and five were injured in the blasts. Austin police have fielded more than 1,200 reports of suspicious packages in recent weeks.
"We believe that this individual is responsible for all incidents that have taken place in Austin, beginning March 2," Manley said. He urged the area to remain cautious and did not rule out the possibility that the suspect had mailed or planted further bombs before his death.
False alarms have also kept people on edge in recent days. On Tuesday night, a throng of police, reporters and residents raced to the scene of a reported explosion at a Goodwill on the city's south side. Jerry Davis, the CEO of Goodwill Central Texas, declared at the time, "Someone donated a bomb to us today," telling HuffPost that one of the employees there had picked up a device that detonated in his hands.
Minutes later, Austin police confirmed that an odd "incendiary device" had indeed injured the employee, but didn't bear any connection to the recent bombings and instead resembled "some type of military ordinance or memento" that caught fire.