Lots of children are back in school now after spring break, but in the Texas capital city, some kids have been delayed in their return to classes because of a lockdown in one part of town.
A fourth explosion occurred on Sunday night in a city rocked by attacks that, police say, appear to be linked. Two men described as white and in their 20s were taken to the hospital with serious injuries, and a community was placed on lockdown until Monday morning. Nearby schools closed or delayed startup times, and school buses avoided the area.
Previous bomb attacks have occurred on the town’s eastside, in what are historically minority neighborhoods. Two people were killed in those earlier explosions.
Police have been warning Austinites to be vigilant and not to pick up packages they weren’t expecting. On Sunday night, though, the explosive wasn’t a package left at someone’s doorstep.
KUT Austin’s senior editor Ben Philpott, who was on the scene, says there are key differences between Sunday night’s explosion and previous incidents.
“This was something that may have been set off by possibly a tripwire. This is what the police are currently trying to run down, and 100 percent confirm,” Philpott says. “The two men who were injured were walking along the side of the road when the bomb went off. This was just a bomb, again, on the side of the road in this neighborhood, not something that was left at somebody’s doorstep. The other big difference is that these were two white males. The previous four people injured or killed had been people of color.”
The bomb that exploded Sunday night revealed a higher level of sophistication, and the circumstances indicated different tactics. Local police and the FBI are still investigating the possibility that all the incidents are connected, but not discarding the idea of a copycat bomb.
“I think mostly they were going on the idea that this is connected,” Philpott says. “They just haven’t found that connection.”
Communities all over Austin had been told to be aware of suspicious packages left on doorsteps, but now they’re instructed to report anything out of the ordinary.
Written by Cesar Lopez-Linares.