Wednesday 20 March 2019

Investigators fear bomber may have had help in deadly Texas spree

A 2010 student ID photo of bomb suspect Mark Conditt. Photo: AP
A 2010 student ID photo of bomb suspect Mark Conditt. Photo: AP

Jon Kerskovitz

Federal investigators yesterday scoured the home of the 23-year-old man they say was behind this month's deadly Texas bombing spree, seeking clues about what motivated Mark Conditt and whether anyone helped him build or plant his bombs.

Conditt, an unemployed man from the Austin suburb of Pflugerville, confessed to the three-week string of bombings in a 25-minute video found on his cellphone, police said. He then blew himself up with one of his own bombs on Wednesday as police closed in on him in his car.

"Even though the bomber's dead, our focus is to ensure that he wasn't working with anyone else," said Michelle Lee, a spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation's San Antonio office.

"We're really working to make sure that that wasn't the case," she added.

The bombs, which killed two people and wounded five others, primarily targeted Austin, the Texas capital and a fast-growing city of one million people. Three were left as parcels outside victims' homes, one by a sidewalk with a trip-wire mechanism attached, and two shipped as FedEx parcels, which helped investigators unmask the bomber's identity.

The attacks drew national attention when the second and third bombs went off while the city was hosting its annual South by Southwest music, movies and tech festival, which draws half-a-million people.

The video showed a troubled young man, according to Austin Police chief Brian Manley, but did not outline a clear motive for the attacks that began on March 2.

The police department was unlikely to make the video public while the investigation continued, said spokeswoman Destiny Wilson.

Investigators sought further clues from the home Conditt moved into last year and shared with two roommates in Pflugerville, which is within walking distance of his family's house.

Conditt and his three siblings had been home-schooled through high school, his mother wrote on Facebook. He attended classes at Austin Community College between 2010 and 2012, but did not graduate.

Irish Independent

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