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Tag: Texas

FBI Tracked Record 30 Mass Shootings in 2017

Gun seized in Las Vegas as part of operation/dea photo

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI reported 30 active shootings in 2017, more than any year on record, according to a recently released report by the bureau. 

The 30 reported active shootings are an increase over the 20 reported in 2016.

Between 2016 and 2017, 221 people were killed and 722 people injured.

Most active shootings took place in Florida, California and Texas.

Those years also saw the deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history. The Las Vegas music festival shooting left 58 people dead and 489 injured in 2017.

In 2016, the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orland, Fla., killed 49 people and wounded another 53.

The combined 50 shootings in 2016 and 2017 came at the hands of men acting by themselves.

Building a Border Wall in Rio Grande Valley Is Fraught with Challenges, Potential Lawsuits

The Rio Grande in Big Bend.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Building a wall along the busiest stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border – the Rio Grande Valley – has proven to be much trickier than Donald Trump suggested during his presidential campaign. 

That’s because land along the Rio Grande River in this area is essentially a floodplain where construction is prohibited under water treaties with Mexico. Much of the land also is owned by resident and businesses.

The Los Angeles Times examined communities along the river and found that erecting a wall presents a monumental challenge fraught with potential lawsuits from landowners, environmental groups and even Mexico. 

Congress approved $1.6 billion in March to build a border wall and fencing along 100 miles of land in Texas, California and New Mexico. About 33 miles of that is in the Rio Grand Valley, where Border Patrol most needs the help.

But which border towns along the Rio Grand Valley get a wall is still unclear.

Israel Cantu Amador, who lives along the Rio Grande, said he’d rather see more Border Patrol agents than a wall.

“It’s nonsense,” the 65-year-old said. “Iron gates, wooden gates — they’re going to come through.”

Austin Serial Bomber Described Self as ‘Psychopath’ with No Remorse

Serial bomber Mark Conditt was captured on surveillance mailing two bomb-laden packages.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Austin serial bomber who terrorized the Texas capital in a spate of explosions that killed two people and wounded five others described himself in a cell phone recording as a “psychopath” who felt no remorse.

“I was I were sorry but I am not,” Mark Conditt said in a recording found on his cell phone after he blew himself up with a bomb early Wednesday morning, the Austin Statesman reports, citing sources familiar with the so-called “confession.”

The 23-year-old, who said he’s been disturbed since childhood, pledged to blow himself up if authorities closed in on him.

The 28-minute recording, which police have declined to release because they’re using it as evidence, offered no clues about Conditt’s motives or how he chose his victims.

Authorities suspect there were more recordings stored on his laptop, which was destroyed in the explosion.

In the recording, Conditt said he regretted going into a FedEx store in suburban Austin to mail two homemade bombs because he and his red pickup truck were captured on surveillance videos, which helped authorities identify him.

Police believe the recording was made at about 9 p.m. Tuesday, about five hours before police tracked him down behind a motel in suburban Austin.

Police: Serial Bombing Suspect Was Troubled But Not Motivated by Hate

Serial bombing suspect Mark Conditt.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The unemployed 23-year-old who blew himself up after authorities said he was behind a spate of violent explosions that terrorized the Texas capital for three weeks was not motivated by hate, according to interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley.

Rather, the serial bombing suspect, Mark Conditt, who was home-schooled and dropped out of community college, was acting out because he was struggling to adjust to adulthood, Manley said after investigators watched a 25-minute cell phone video “confession.”

“He does not at all mention anything about terrorism, nor does he mention anything about hate,” Manley told the Austin Statesman.“But instead it is the outcry of a very challenged young man talking about challenges in his personal life.”

Police have not yet released the video or disclosed in detail what Conditt said in the confession.

Conditt’s alleged reign of terror, which included four package bombs that detonated in Austin and killed two people and injured several others, ended early Wednesday morning with a brief police chase that resulted in Conditt detonating a homemade bomb in his red pickup truck, killing himself and injuring a police officer.

Suspected Serial Bomber Blows Self Up Following Police Chase

Interim Police Chief Brian Manley speaks to the media just hours after the suspected serial bomber was killed.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The suspected serial bomber who has terrorized Austin, Texas, in a deadly string of explosions this month blew himself up in his car after a brief police pursuit early Wednesday morning, local and federal law enforcement officials told reporters at 6 a.m.

An Austin police officer suffered minor injuries in the explosion.

Acting on numerous tips, authorities tracked down the 24-year-old white man in a car in the rear of a hotel along Interstate 35 in the Austin suburb of Round Rock.

While police waited for ballistic vehicles to arrive, the suspect drove off, prompting a brief chase that ended when the suspect stopped in a ditch on the side of the road. As the SWAT team approached, the suspect detonated a bomb, injuring one officer and prompting another to fire his weapon.

The suspect, who was gravely injured, was struck with a bullet and died said Austin Interim Police Chief Brian Manley. 

Authorities warned residents that more bombs may be planted in the city or en route to homes from mail facilities.

Police also said it’s not yet clear whether the suspect had an accomplice.

The suspect is accused of planting four bombs in packages in Austin, killing two people and injuring four others.

Manley said the suspect also is responsible for a package bomb that exploded at a FedEx near San Antonio, and officials said it was intended to be delivered to Austin.

Earlier this week, police suggested the serial bombings were racially motivated and targeted people of color. But police have backed off that theory.

“We do not understand what motivated him to do what he did,” Manley said.

Another Explosion in Austin Tuesday Night After 2 More Package Bombs Found in Central Texas

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Yet another explosion rattled Austin Tuesday night as hundreds of local and federal investigators continue their frantic search for a suspected serial bomber responsible for at least four attacks that have killed two people and injured four others since March 2.

The latest explosion comes on the same day that authorities were investigating the discovery of two package bombs at FedEx facilities in Austin and nearby Schertz.

At 8:10 p.m. Tuesday, Austin fire officials said the were “on scene at a reported package explosion” at a Goodwill store where a man in his 30s was seriously injured.

But about an hour later, the Austin Police Department said the explosion didn’t appear to be connected to the other bombings that have terrified the Texas capital.

“Items inside package was not a bomb, rather an incendiary device,” police tweeted. “At this time, we have no reason to believe this incident is related to previous package bombs.”

Investigators believe two package bombs found earlier in the day at two separate FedEx facilities were connected to the suspected serial bomber. The first package exploded early in the morning in Schertz, about an hour from Austin, and a second was found with an undetonated bomb later in the day in Austin.   

Update 10:40 p.m.: Police held a news conference to address the Goodwill explosion.

  • Package Bomb Explosion at FexEx Facility in Texas likely Linked to Austin Serial Bomber

    FedEx truck, via Wikipedia

    By Steve Neavling
    Ticklethewire.com

    A package bomb exploded at a FedEx Facility near San Antonio early this morning, drawing fears that it’s connected to the series of deadly blasts in Austin, Tex.

    The bomb, which authorities believe was destined for Austin. detonated shortly after midnight at the facility in Schertz.

    “It would be silly for us not to admit that we suspect it’s related” to four bombings in Austin this month, FBI San Antonio spokeswoman Michelle Lee told USA Today

    The package exploded at about 12:30 a.m. in the sorting area of the FedEx Ground distribution center.

    One person was injured and treated for minor injuries.

    The ATF and FBI were headed to the scene this morning.

    The blast comes after four package bombs exploded about 80 miles from Austin in the past month, killing two people and wounding four more.

    Authorities believe the bombs are connected but are unsure of a motive and do not have a suspect.

    On Tuesday, authorities said they were investigating whether the bombs were racially motivated because the victims have been black or Hispanic.

    Neighbor Provides Surveillance Video of Third Package Explosion in Austin

    By Steve Neavling
    Ticklethewire.com

    The FBI has surveillance footage of what authorities believe is the third package bomb to explode in Austin, Texas, since March 2.

    After the third blast critically injured a 75-year-old woman around noon on Monday, a neighbor turned over surveillance video to the FBI.

    Richard Rodriguez, who lives one block from the third package explosion, said he hopes the surveillance will help investigators track down the suspect.

    “If it was my grandmother I would want them to help, so that’s why I did it,” Rodriguez told Fox 7. “If it does, that’s great but if not, hopefully it leads to at least some clue…a car or person walking or something. But, I hope they, you know, find somebody because it just wasn’t right.”

    Police believe the package was placed on the front doorsteps of the elderly woman’s home. The bomb detonated when she picks it up, causing serious injuries.

    Each of the first two package bombs killed the person who tried to open it.

    Police believe the same person or people are behind the package attacks.

    The FBI and ATF are assisting local police.

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