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Austin serial bomber dies in wee-hours confrontation after police trace him to motel

The suspected serial bomber who killed two people and terrorized Austin, Texas, for three harrowing weeks was killed in a dramatic confrontation with police overnight Wednesday, according to authorities.

The suspect, identified by police early Wednesday as a 24-year old male, was killed near the motel he was traced to by authorities using surveillance footage from a Federal Express drop-off store and cell phone triangulation technology, according to The Austin American-Statesman.


Police sources tell @fox7austin they believe the #AustinBombing suspect who has died is from the Pflugerville area. They are not ruling out that others may be involved. @fox7austin


The man died after fleeing the motel in a car, with police hot on his tail. He drove into a ditch, sparking the fatal confrontation.


JUST IN: Witnesses describe what they saw and heard after the #AustinBombings suspect is dead. @fox7austin


"We wanted this to come to a peaceful resolution tonight," said Austin Police Chief Brian Manley. "However, we were not afforded that opportunity when he started to drive away."

Police said the man detonated two package bombs as police closed in, firing at him. It was not immediately clear whether he died from the bombs or shots fired by police. One officer was knocked back by the blasts, but none were seriously hurt.

The incident appears to have brought to an end a terrifying sequence that began March 2, when Anthony Steven House, 39, was killed when a package he discovered on his porch in northeast Austin exploded.


HAPPENING NOW: This is I-35 S in Round Rock near Old Settlers Blvd. It’s shut down after officer-involved shooting. @Austin_Police tell me one person is dead and this may be related to the #AustinBombings suspect. @FBI on scene.


Ten days later, a second "porch bomb" exploded nearby, killing 17-year-old Draylen Mason and injuring his mother. A third bomb went off on March 12, injuring Esperanza Herrera, 75, and police quickly determined all three were connected.

As the Texas capital's residents sought answers, developments took a frightening turn on March 18, when two men were injured by a bomb that was set off by a sophisticated "trip wire," made of fishing string. That bomb, along with the accelerated pattern of attacks, spurred fears authorities were hunting a highly trained maniac.

Just after midnight on March 19, a packaged destined for Austin exploded at a FedEx delivery facility in Schertz, some 65 miles south of Austin. That package had been sent from Austin, and police were able to track it to the drop-off store where they obtained surveillance video.

Late Tuesday night an explosion in Austin caused by an "incendiary device" was said to be unrelated to previous bombings in Texas that have killed two people and severely wounded four others since March 2, police and federal authorities said.

Also Tuesday, the FBI said a suspicious package reported at a FedEx distribution center near the Austin airport "contained an explosive device." The two packages were reportedly sent from a mail delivery office in Sunset Valley, an Austin suburb south of downtown.

Someone dropped off a box containing an “artillery simulator” at an Austin Goodwill location that detonated, injuring an employee and triggering a bomb scare.

Austin assistance police Chief Ely Reyes says there was "no reason to believe" the Tuesday blast was a copycat incident.

Tuesday’s victim was a Goodwill Industries employee who was "being treated for non-life-threatening injuries," the Austin branch of the nonprofit tweeted. The man, in his 30s, was looking in a donation bin at the time of the blast, Austin's KVUE-TV reported.

According to a Goodwill employee speaking to the outlet, the victim was talking with someone about safety when the suspicious item was found. While trying to dispose of it, an employee handled one of the artillery simulators and it went off, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

The individual suffered injuries that were "potentially serious, not expected to be life-threatening," the county's EMS tweeted. Paramedics rushed him to a hospital. The victim was treated and released from care, a spokesperson from St. David's South Austin Medical Center told the American-Statesman.

The Houston division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, along with FBI San Antonio said they were working with Austin police in the investigation.

At least five other explosions have rocked the Austin and San Antonio areas in recent weeks.

Authorities said the two packages were connected to four earlier explosions that have occurred in the state throughout March.


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