Two deadly package explosions in Austin in the past two weeks appear similar and related, authorities said Monday before warning residents against taking suspicious packages inside their homes.
A 17-year-old was killed and a woman in her 40s was injured in an explosion Monday inside an East Austin residence after he brought a package into their home, interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said.
The incident is being investigated by police and federal authorities, as a homicide, the chief said.
He also said that investigators are not ruling out the possibility of the explosions being a hate crime because the victims in the cases are African-American.
The U.S. Postal Service told investigators that the package did not come through their facilities, so the package was likely left by someone at the doorstep, Manley said.
Manley said authorities know what kind of explosive device was used, but they are not revealing details in order to preserve the integrity of the investigation.
Manley said people can call 911 if they believe they have received a suspicious or unexpected package left at their homes.
“We will not tolerate this in Austin,” Manley told reporters.
Federal and local investigators are still looking into the death of a man March 2 as a possible homicide after an explosion in a Northeast Austin neighborhood.
Monday’s explosion has prompted investigators to immediately begin considering whether the two recent explosions are related.
Officials told the American-Statesman that they will try to determine any similarities between the packaging and explosive material.
Michelle Lee, special agent for the FBI, said federal officials are responding to the incident.
She said that for now, Austin police will remain in charge of the investigation with federal agents assisting.
Emergency personnel from Austin-Travis County EMS, Austin police and fire responded to the 4800 block of Oldfort Hill Drive at 6:44 a.m. Monday, EMS said.
The woman, described only as in her 40s, was taken to Dell Seton Medical Center with serious and potentially life-threatening injuries.
Police did not identify the teenager or the woman and have not released any details about Monday’s package.
In the package explosion on March 2, Austin police responded to a home in the 1100 block of Haverford Drive around 6:55 a.m.
First responders took 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House to a hospital, but he died from his injuries shortly after the blast. Police have classified the incident as a suspicious death.
Since then, authorities have not released any information on the device that caused the explosion, or named anyone who may have been involved.
© 2018 Austin American-Statesman, Texas
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.