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Tag: Texas

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.

    Fiancé Still Awaits Answers in Border Patrol Agent’s Mysterious Death

    Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez was found dead at the bottom of a ravine in west Texas.

    By Steve Neavling
    Ticklethewire.com

    The man Angela Ochoa was about to marry was unconscious in an El Paso hospital bed, riddled with cuts and bruises.

    Her fiancé Rogelio Martinez had been working a late shift as a Border Patrol agent about 120 miles east of their home in El Paso. That’s all she knew because no one at the hospital would talk to her about had happened.

    Later that day, Martinez died, and still Ochoa was given no information about on what caused the fatal injuries.   

    “We were just hoping we would have answers,” Ochoa told the El Paso Times

    The next day, President Trump seemed to have answers that Ochoa didn’t.

    “Border Patrol Officer killed at Southern Border, another badly hurt,” Trump tweeted. “We will see out and bring justice to those responsible. We will, and must, build the wall.”

    But justice never came, and in the next couple of days, a team of local and federal law enforcement officers cast doubt on Trump’s tweet.

    Nearly three months laster,  following more than 650 interviews, Ochoa was given an autopsy report last week that indicated there was no evidence of a  “scuffle, altercation or attack.” 

    According to the autopsy, Martinez died of “blunt force trauma” to his head caused by an “undetermined manner of death.”

    Now all Ochoa wants are answers. She’s frustrated and angry.

    Federal officials said they are still investigating the case and believe Martinez may have been killed in a car crash.

    Martinez and his partner Stephen “Michael” Garland were responding to unknown activity on the night of Nov. 18 near Van Horn, a Texas town near the Mexico border and about 110 miles southeast of El Paso. Garland was seriously injured but has no memory of what happened. According to the FBI, Garland told a dispatcher, “We ran into a culvert.”

    Garland was seriously injured and has no memory of what happened.

    Ochoa said Martinez “had a big heart.”

    He really enjoyed spending time with the kids they would catch … kids that lived the hard life outside of this country. He enjoyed getting to know them,” she added.

    Border Patrol Agents Find 76 Immigrants Packed into Tractor-Trailer in Texas

    Dozens of immigrants were found inside this tractor-trailer in Texas. Photo via Border Patrol.

    By Steve Neavling
    ticklethewire.com

    Border Patrol agents made a disturbing discovery inside a tractor-trailer northwest of Laredo, Texas: 76 immigrants, including 13 unaccompanied children, were packed into the bed of truck.

    The immigrants, hailing from Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, were found in “good health” at a checkpoint on U.S. 83 on Friday, Border Patrol announced Monday

    The discovery is just the latest in what agents said is an increase in the use of tractor-trailers to smuggle immigrants into the U.S.

    “These criminal organizations view these individuals as mere commodities without regard for their safety,” Laredo Sector Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Gabriel Acosta said in a news release. “The blatant disregard for human life will not be tolerated. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to disrupt and dismantle these organizations and prosecute those responsible.”

    Off-Duty Border Patrol Agent May Have Acted in Self-Defense in Fatal Shooting

    By Steve Neavling
    ticklethewire.com

    An off-duty Border Patrol agent suspected of fatally shooting a 33-year-old man over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, may have been acting in self-defense, a spokesman told the El Paso Times on Thursday. 

    Police were called to an aggravated assault at 4:30 a.m. Sunday when they found Juan Daniel Jacques shot to death.

    Authorities identified the agent as Luis Chavez, who has not been arrested but is under investigation by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.

    “The exact details of this case are still under investigation,” sheriff’s spokesman Luis Chavez said. “We are investigating all motives of this homicide, to include the possibility of self-defense. No arrests have been made as of yet.” 

    Border Patrol leaders also are investigating to determine whether administrative action is warranted against the agent.