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Authorities responded to at least 150 suspicious package calls following string of parcel explosions in Austin, Texas

March 15, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Authorities responded to at least 150 suspicious package calls following string of parcel explosions in Austin, Texas

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Authorities responded to at least 150 suspicious package calls following string of parcel explosions in Austin, Texas

Texas authorities say police have received hundreds of reports of suspicious packages after Monday’s two deadly parcel explosions in Austin.

Investigators have implemented a Suspicious Package Protocol and advised city residents to take precautions when opening their packages, alleging that the two explosions are linked to another blast that took place on March 2nd.

That diligence is particularly important given that authorities said the bombs demonstrated a level of sophistication and included features such as shrapnel and motion detectors, ABC News reported.

Sources said that the bombs were made with “enhancers,” such as nails, nuts, bolts and metal pieces to produce shrapnel.

Officials also said the explosive devices detonated by motion such as shaking or nudging and fitted with a safety switch that allowed the bomber or bombers manufacture them without causing harm to themselves.

Authorities said these aspects “exhibit a high level of complexity which indicates that the bomb-maker or makers were extremely skilled.”

It was also announced on Tuesday that two of the victims of Monday’s blast were a mother and son.

The son identified as 17-year-old Draylen Mason died in the blast.

His mother’s identity has not been revealed, but she is said to be 40-years-old and is now in stable condition.

On Tuesday, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley wrote on Twitter that residents had taken notice of his warning to be vigilant when opening their mail, added that the department had received more than 150 calls about suspicious packages by 5 am.

He also verified that none of the packages contained anything dangerous, but advised citizens to remain aware.

Officials said they think that all three blasts are related, and said that at least one string of them might have been related to race because Draylen and his mother are African- American.

The third victim of Monday’s bombings was Esperanza Herrera, 75, who was hospitalized with potentially life-threatening injuries. Manley said she is still in serious condition.

Monday’s attacks are believed to be associated with a deadly parcel bombing in a nearby area on March 2nd that resulted in the death of 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House.

The Texas governor’s office indicated on Monday it was offering a reward of up to $15,000 for information resulting in the apprehension of those involved in the deadly attacks.

Authorities, with assistance from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, are frantically searching for the individual who is responsible.

Two of the victims of the explosions were a mother-son pair who were hit at their home. The explosive package killed 17-year-old Draylen Mason (above)

It has also been noted that all the victims were minorities – the two males killed were black – and detectives are investigating whether race was a factor. However, they backed off initial theories that hate crimes could be a primary cause.

Manley had originally suggested that the blasts could be considered a hate crime but later amended that to say that police had not settled on a motive since the intended targets weren’t apparent because multiple people reside in the homes where the explosives were detonated.

“We are not ruling anything out,” Manley said.

He noted that there was no specific victimology or ideology so ascertaining a motive was difficult.

In at least the first two attacks, the packages were left overnight on the victims’ doorsteps and were not mailed or shipped by a delivery service.

Manley said neither the Postal Service nor private carriers such as UPS or FedEx have any account of delivering the package to the home where Monday’s explosion took place.

The explosions occurred with hundreds of thousands of visitors in Austin for the South by Southwest music, film, and technology festival.

The bombs did not explode near the site and authorities believe that the explosions are not linked to the festival.

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