Police responded to another explosion Sunday night in a Southwest Austin neighborhood that left two men injured. The scene remained active Monday morning as authorities swept the area and enforced a shelter in place for residents.
This was the fourth incident in a string of recent explosions. Austin Interim Police Chief Brian Manley along with FBI Special Agent Christopher Combs said the city is dealing with what could be a serial bomber.
"This is somebody who knows what they're doing. They are skilled in this and that's why they have not to date hurt themselves,” said Christopher Combs, FBI Special Agent.
Officials say they responded to Sunday's explosion around 8:30 p.m. The incident happened off of Dawn Song Drive in Travis Country. Manley said they believe the device was activated by a tripwire as the two victims were walking alongside the road. ATF said the explosive device was attached to some sort of sign.
Manley said there are similarities between Sunday night's explosion and the other three explosions that have occurred since March 2, 2018. However, officials say Sunday's incident is more sophisticated than the previous ones due to a possible tripwire being involved. In the case of the first three explosions, packages were left on front porches. This time, the victim could have anybody, even a child, authorities said.
Manley is now warning Austin residents to not approach any suspicious items that look out of place, not just packages. Officials say to call 911 instead.
Police asked residents in Travis Country with any surveillance video to contact them at 512-974-5210.
The two men injured were 22 and 23 years old. They were taken to a hospital with significant injuries following the explosion. Manley said they are now in stable condition.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced on Monday emergency funding of $265,500 was to be released to help APD and the Texas Ranger Bomb Response Team.
“I want to ensure everyone in the Austin region and the entire state that Texas is committed to providing every resource necessary to make sure these crimes are solved as quickly as possible,” said Abbott in a statement.
Earlier on Sunday, police increased their reward for any information that leads to an arrest related to the explosions to $100,000. This is in addition to Abbott’s $15,000 reward, which brings the total to $115,000.