Scott Olson/Getty Images(AUSTIN, Texas) — As a suspected serial bomber or bombers has the city of Austin, Texas on edge, authorities are scrambling to find out if a fifth explosion in the San Antonio suburb of Schertz is connected.
The bombings in Austin, which appear to display increasing complexity, began March 2 and have left two dead and four injured.
Steve Gomez, a former FBI special agent in charge and current ABC News contributor, said that the investigating agencies are likely proceeding with the expectation that all five incidents are connected.
“The agencies have to assume that the explosion in Schertz is connected to the serial bomber in Austin until proven otherwise, based on the timing and the circumstances,” Gomez said.
Here is the timeline of events that have led hundreds of investigators on a manhunt.
Friday, March 2
About 6:55 a.m., police received calls about an explosion at a private residence.
The victim in this explosion, Anthony Stephan House, died from his injuries after being transported to a local hospital.
House’s death was initially investigated as suspicious, and Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said that after the subsequent bombings it was reclassified as a homicide investigation.
Monday, March 12
The first blast of the day, reported about 6:44 a.m., killed a male teenager, later identified as Draylen Mason, and injured a woman in her 40s.
The blast occurred at a single-family home in the northeast section of the city and was caused by a package that had been placed on the porch of a home rather than being delivered, police said. Police believe the explosion happened after residents took the package inside to open it.
The explosion was “very similar to the incident that occurred in Austin back on March 2, and if you’ll remember, that incident also occurred in the morning hours when the victim, in that case, went out front and found a package on their front steps that exploded causing that individual’s death,” the Austin police chief said at a news conference.
Police received calls about the second explosion of the day at 11:50 a.m. The blast injured a 75-year-old woman who Manley said “came outside of her residence and found a package out front and picked up that package.”
Sunday, March 18
Authorities made a direct appeal to the bomber, with Manley saying that he hoped the bomber was watching and would “reach out to us before anyone else is injured or killed.”
That didn’t stop the carnage, however.
Hours later, the fourth blast was triggered when two victims either stepped on or kicked a tripwire as they were walking on a sidewalk in the Travis Country neighborhood of Austin. The tripwire set off the explosive device that was placed near a fence at 8:32 p.m. on Sunday March 18, police said.
Manley said the use of a tripwire to detonate the device is different than the package bombs used in the other attacks that occurred on March 2 and March 12, and signaled that whoever is responsible has “a higher level of sophistication, a higher level of skills” than previously suspected.
The victims, ages 22 and 23, were in stable condition at a hospital with “significant injuries.”
Police issued a “safety alert” in the wake of the bombing, urging people located within a half-mile radius of where the incident occurred to stay indoors until 10 a.m. local time.
Tuesday, March 20
A fifth explosion happened in the early hours this morning, but the distance and nature of the blast differ from the earlier instances.
The latest explosion occurred about 12:30 a.m. at a FedEx facility in the San Antonio suburb of Schertz, about 65 miles southwest of Austin, where two men were injured Sunday night in the fourth bombing in 17 days to rock the Texas capital.
A medium-sized box containing nails and metal shrapnel exploded on a conveyor belt, according to police, who spoke with ABC San Antonio affiliate KSAT-TV.
The injuries to the worker were “possibly from the sound of the device going off,” Lt. Manny Casas of the Schertz Police Department said. The worker was treated at the scene and did not have to be hospitalized, officials said.
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