Update, 2 p.m.: A few details have emerged about Conditt, the suspected (and deceased) bomber. He worked until last August in purchasing and sales at a semiconductor company and had previously worked as a computer repair technician, which might (or might not) explain his facility with what authorities have described as relatively sophisticated explosive devices. A blog he wrote for a college political science class expressed conservative views on issues such as abortion and gay rights, though none of what he wrote seems to have been particularly extreme or indicative of support for political violence. And a 24-year-old named Jeremiah Jensen who knew Conditt told the Austin American-Statesman that Conditt was argumentative and “rough around the edges” but said he had “no idea” what might have motivated him to build and deploy bombs.
Original post, 10:50 a.m.: A man suspected of carrying out the serial bombings that killed two people and injured four others in Austin, Texas, has blown himself up, authorities said Wednesday morning.
Law enforcement officials have identified the suspect as Mark Anthony Conditt, a 24-year-old white man. According to the New York Times, Conditt lived in Pflugerville, a suburb northeast of Austin. Austin police chief Brian Manley said officers were closing in on Conditt when he blew himself up in his vehicle. Police have not yet identified a motive, Manley said.
Police have cautioned that although the suspect is dead, he might have planted other bombs before his death. Fred Milanowski, an agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said authorities believe all devices were built by the same person, but they aren’t certain he acted alone and without an accomplice.
Austin residents were urged to remain vigilant. “We don’t know where this suspect has spent his last 24 hours,” Manley cautioned.
According to Manley, police began receiving information about one person of interest on their list, and they gathered enough information—including from a surveillance video—to consider him the suspect. Authorities traced the man’s vehicle to a hotel in the suburb of Round Rock, Texas. Police and federal agents took up places around the hotel to wait for a tactical team, but as they waited, the man took off in his vehicle. The man came to a stop in a ditch, and as the SWAT team approached, he detonated an explosive, injuring one of the officers.
Update, March 21, 2018 at 9:55 a.m.: This post has been updated with information about the suspect’s identity, as well as additional information about the information that led to his being considered a suspect.