The man who police believe was behind a series of package bombings in Austin, Texas, has died after detonating an explosive device inside his car, officials said Wednesday morning. The man has been identified as Mark Anthony Conditt, according to the Associated Press.
“This is the culmination of three very long weeks for our community,” Austin Police Department Chief Brian Manley said during a press conference Wednesday, adding that there have been “far too many tragedies in the last few weeks.” Two people have died as a result of the attacks.
The news came a day after a fifth package bomb, believed to be linked to the investigation, exploded at a FedEx distribution center in Schertz just after midnight on Tuesday, leaving one employee with non-life-threatening injuries. An explosion at an Austin Goodwill store on Tuesday was originally thought to be connected as well, but turned out to be unrelated, according to authorities.
Here’s what we know about the suspect so far.
Who was the Austin bombing suspect?
The suspected Austin bomber, who law enforcement called a 24-year-old white male, has been identified as Mark Anthony Conditt, a law enforcement official told the AP. Pflugerville Mayor Victor Gonzales told AP that the suspect lived in the Austin suburb.
Police recently received information about the suspect, Manley said, after which he quickly moved from a person of interest to a suspect. Law enforcement officials tracked the vehicle the suspect was known to drive, and found him at a hotel in Round Rock, outside Austin.
FedEx said it provided authorities with “extensive evidence” captured by its security system, CNN reports. CBS Austin published images of an individual believed to be the suspect, possibly wearing a wig and gloves, inside a South Austin FedEx store.
A Facebook for a person called Mark Conditt from Pflugerville was blank Wednesday morning. Shortly after the suspect was named publicly, the page was no longer public.
Is the Austin bomber dead?
Yes. Police believe the 24-year-old suspect built all the bombs that exploded in Austin. As police monitored the suspect’s vehicle early Wednesday at a hotel, it began to drive away, Manley said. Authorities pursued the vehicle, and it eventually ran into a ditch on the side of the road. As SWAT officers approached, a bomb went off inside the car, killing the suspect. One officer sustained minor injuries in the blast, Manley said.
Are there more suspects in the Austin bombings?
It’s “hard to say” whether the bombing suspect had help, according to Fred Milanowski, an agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Investigators said it does appear that the same person built all of the explosive devices in question.
Manley also said there is some concern that other packages may have been left around Austin before the suspect died. “We don’t know where this suspect has spent his last 24 hours and therefore we still have to remain vigilant to ensure that no other packages have been left throughout the community,” Manley said.
What was the Austin bomber’s motive?
No motive has been identified at this point, Manley said. Some observers noted that the suspect’s alleged actions could be race-related, since the first package bombs killed two black men and injured a Hispanic woman, but Manley earlier told the Associated Press that police were not “making the connection to a hate crime,” after doing so at first.
The bomb that exploded from a suspected trip wire on Sunday night injured two white men.
How have officials responded?
President Donald Trump reacted enthusiastically to news of the suspect’s death, tweeting his praise for law enforcement.
AUSTIN BOMBING SUSPECT IS DEAD. Great job by law enforcement and all concerned!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2018
Manley also tweeted his thanks to officers and federal partners on Wednesday.