APD Briefing on Package Explosion, 3/12

News Clips
Monday, March 12th

Austin Police Interim Chief Brian Manley holds a press conference on the latest on a package explosion in east Austin Monday morning, as well as its connection to a March 2 incident in northeast Austin.


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Wallace put together. What's going on we give you a briefing. When introduced a few folks that I had here with me. I have John scatter who has a special agent in charge for the FBI here locally and off then. And I have ATF special agent that Alan Derek who's they're resident agent in charge out of San Antonio along with members of the Austin police forms executive team. We had an incident occur this morning in the 4800 block of old fort hill drive. Residents called in and reported that there had been some type of an explosion that had occurred in the residence. Again this was reported at 6:44 in the morning. And they reported that there were two people they had been injured in this explosion. So we immediately had police officers responding along with the Austin fire department and Austin Travis County EMS services. Upon arrival the author of police officers EMS technicians and firefighters went to the residents. And what we found was an explosion had occurred inside the residence. There were two people they had been injured. One of those persons. Has died of their injuries. We believe this person to be a seventeen year old male. The other was an adult female who was transported to a local hospital with what we believe to be nonlife threatening injuries. What we understand at this point. Is that early this morning one of the residents went out front and there was a package on the front doorstep. They brought that packaged inside the residence. And as they open that package. Both victims were in the kitchen. And the package exploded causing the injuries that resulted in the young man's death and injuries to be adult female. This incidents is being investigated right now by the Austin police department's homicide division. As a homicide. What you see behind us is a very strong representation. From both of FBI along with the ATF. We have the United States Postal Service out here with us again on this investigation. Given that this kid was a package that was on the doorstep. What we can tell you right now. It is the United States Postal Service has reviewed their records and that we do not believe that this was an all delivery that came through the Postal Service. And we're checking with our other package delivery services as well but the initial indication from them is that this was not a package that was delivered by any mail service. It's so it was placed on the front doorstep. The incident is very similar. She's the incidents that occurred in Austin. Back on March 2 and if you'll remember that incident also occurred in the morning hours when. The victim and that case went out front. And found a package on their front steps that exploded. Causing that in individual's death. That in that case was being investigated as a suspicious death. It is now being reclassified. And is now a homicide investigation as well. We are looking at these incidents as being related based on similarities that we had seen. In the initial evidence that we have on hand here today compared to what we found on the scene of that explosion that took place. Oh a week back. We are looking at anything that might hide these cute together. But again what we've seen on the initial review of this scene and were very early on in the investigation. There are similarities that we cannot rule out that these two incidents are in fact related. So with that I wanna put out some safety messages. First of all. We can we want the community to be aware. That this has happened and obviously there's the possibility that these are related so if you find any suspicious packages. On your front porch actual residents do not handle them but instead call 911. And let us come out and take a look at those packages and ensure war. That they are safe. Again if you've received a package that you were not expecting. That is not from someone that you expected to receive a package from or for some reason gives you cause for concern. Then called 911. Until we've gotten to the bottom of this and cleared these cases again we believe that the possibility that they are related exists. And that's what you see behind us is a very concerted effort between all of the agency GC represented here today. Because we are not going to tolerate this in Austin. And you see every stop will be pulled out and the federal agencies have all jumped in with us. To lend us a hand and to bring this to as quick of a resolution as possible. So. We will. We've got the FBI's evidence recovery team is in route. Along with the ATF five national response team. There will be a very large post blast investigation that will take place at his residence. Through this investigation we will gather all the evidence collecting evidence and getting into labs that it can be analyzed so that we can again. Have this case ready for prosecution once we find the individual or individuals that are responsible for this. So we again are in the early stages of this investigation. And as I said we do see similarities and believe that these cases are linked at this time. However we don't know what the motive behind these may be. We do know that both of the homes. That were the recipients of these packages. Belonged to African Americans so we cannot rule out. That hate crime is at the core of this but we're not saying if that's the cause as well we're just acknowledging and we're looking at any possible motivations. That would link these two cases together. So that we can put this a case together understanding the victim Ali G and who might these individuals have known and had in common. So that's the stage of the investigation where we're at now and again we are in the early phases we will be out here. Most of today collecting evidence as you can imagine with an explosion such as this. The the damage is significant and there's a lot of evidence that needs to be collected. So right now this investigation is being conducted as a joint operation between the Austin police department. The Federal Bureau of Investigation. And the ATF all working collaborative Lee along with our other federal partners to bring this case to a quick resolution. So I'll open it up for questions here in a moment. But again at this point there's not a lot more than we can put out based on the early stages of the investigation where we are. Is there any at the end of attack. So we're not gonna go into the specifics of that other than to say that the initial evidence and the initial description that we have received. Are similar in both cases so that's what we're looking at but we're not gonna go into the specifics of what those similarities are. We're doing a canvas of the neighborhood right now we are looking at all of the residences that may have external video. And that is ongoing so that will be part of the investigation. March 2 explosion chief as anything that investigators have been able to identify about what type of explosive devices life. So we do know what the explosive device was we're not going to put that out and how to protect the integrity of the investigation. But based on the expertise. That brings to that comes to this investigation through not only are bomb squad but through our federal partners with the FBI and the ATF we've been able to piece together. What we believe the construction of that first IED was and that's what we'll take place again here today is is reconstructing what happened at this residence so he ultimately. Correct. It is it. I'm I want the public to be aware and to be cautious because again we had two cases. That are very similar that have both reached the final loss of life. And until we find who committed this act and taken into custody thing yes it is appropriate for residents to be concerned if you receive a package you were not expecting. Or if it's a package that's not more appropriately if its not from someone that you know and you were not expecting. Then it's better to be safe and give us a call and let us come out and take a look at it. No the last press conference reverses it and passes you can go and send them. There isn't big enough lead with a motive in that incidents. Seconds. You know there's there's no immediate indication from what we have on the scene but again were early on and that's the fact that we believe there is a possibility that they are related. That's what we will look at now is there any specific ideology behind that these. Offenses. Or or any type as I mentioned a possible hate crime or anything we're not saying that there is but it is what we're looking any possible avenue in in these two cases. It is safe to say that these packages are being left overnight hopefully that morning there there in the early hours of the morning. That's what we believe early on is that these packages are being delivered during the nighttime hours and when the resident comes out front they're finding them on the doorstep so again. If you find yourself in a circumstance where you come out in the morning and you find a package. On your doorstep on your driveway somewhere on your property that you were not expecting that would be appropriate to call us this thing. We have an initial report that there was a second package. But that package has in fact being cleared and it was it was not at all related to this it was just another package that was inside this residence. How much neighborhood. We did O a large evacuation. On each side of the house and across the street again early on. We were not certain whether or not that second package. May also be an explosive device so we had to clear out a good part of the neighborhood in an overabundance of caution to protect everyone's safety. Well we got the bomb squad in their to evaluate whether or not there was anything else that that we need to be concerned in the area of explosives it's. What he's back and I. It looks like your plastic. So look your questions are about the same for these packages are not. At this point any anything specific. As far as a carrier aura a a a vendor. But again what the message really is to the community is if you've received a package. That has been left on your doorstep or left in your your left on your driveway that you were not expected or that was not from someone you know. Can give us a call these are not coming through the United States Postal Service that we determined to at this point and again the US Postal Service inspector is on scene here with us today. And was on scene with us on the prior incident as well. That's that's part of the ongoing investigation the specifics of that so that's what we're saying is if there's anything that looks out of place or suspicious and let us know.