Austin Police Say Deadly Package Explosions Could Be Hate Crimes

The FBI is helping the Austin Police Department investigate two deadly package explosions in less than two weeks.

“We are looking at these incidents as being related based on similarities that we have seen in the initial evidence,” interim Police Chief Brian Manley said at a news conference Monday, hours after the explosion in East Austin, which left one teenager dead and another woman with serious injuries.

Manley said both packages were sent to homes of black residents, “so we cannot rule out that hate crime is at the core of this.”

A woman at the home was transported Monday to Dell Seton Medical Center with life-threatening injuries, Austin Travis County EMS said. Police evacuated nearby homes and closed several streets in the neighborhood.

The FBI and Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were already investigating an explosion that killed a man at his home in Austin on March 2.

“If you find any suspicious packages on your front porch at your residence do not handle them,” Manley said, “but instead call 911 and let us come out and look at those packages and ensure that they are safe.”

Another explosion was also reported Tuesday. A woman in her 70s was transported to the hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries, Austin Travis County EMS said. It’s unclear if that blast is related to the earlier two.

This story is developing and will be updated.

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