In the small hours of Wednesday morning, a big break came to law enforcement officials in series of bombings in Austin that has left two dead and several injured. KUT reporter Audrey McGlinchy was on the scene early Wednesday.
At around 5 a.m., officials confirmed the death of a suspect in the Austin serial bombings, a 23-year-old white man named Mark Anthony Conditt.
She says police were tracking Conditt’s vehicle and found him in his vehicle at a hotel parking lot in Round Rock. While police waited for backup to approach the vehicle, Conditt drove away. Police followed Conditt, who eventually stopped in a ditch on the side of I-35, where he detonated a bomb while he was inside the vehicle. Officers shot at least once at the vehicle.
According to public records, McGlinchy says Conditt owned two properties in Pflugerville. She says she’s still working to confirm reports of Condit’s employment at a semiconductor company in Pflugerville, but has confirmed that Condit attended Austin Community College for two years but did not graduate.
Amid the series of explosions, one challenge has been to strike a balance between what’s revealed publicly and what must remain private so the investigation isn’t compromised.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler has been front and center throughout all of the incidents to communicate with residents in the capital city.
“They’re pretty sure that the suspect who died this morning was responsible for these bombs,” Adler says. “What they don’t know, and they need to run to ground, is just to make sure that he was acting alone. The investigation’s continuing to be able to make that determination.”
Adler says investigators still don’t know where the suspect was over the last 24 hours, whether there are more explosives that haven’t been found yet, or what the suspect’s motive was.
“I’m not sure at this point we have the answer to a lot of the ‘why’ questions,” Adler says. “But the investigation’s continuing and I hope that they’re able to answer some of those questions as they get the rest of the data and information.”
For most Austin residents, life will return to normal now, but Adler says that’s impossible for others.
“For people who have lost loved ones, things will never be okay and they’ll never be back to normal,” he says. “And our thoughts and prayers continue with those folks.”
He says that, on a city level, the community came together and worked with police. Still, the incidents highlight other problems to tackle.
“We do not know our neighbors the way that we used to in a different day and age,” Adler says. “We need to do better than that. People need to know the people that live across the street from them or down the street or across the hall. If there’s one legacy moment to come from this, I think that’s what it is.”
Written by Jen Rice.