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Possible trip wire explosion in SW Austin neighborhood

Possible trip wire explosion in SW Austin neighborhood

Two men were seriously injured by a bomb blast Sunday evening in Austin, Texas.

Police warned residents in the immediate area to stay inside their homes until at least 10 a.m. Regents School of Austin, a nearby private school, will open two hours late Monday for "a complete security sweep", it said in a statement.

Initial reports indicate some key differences between the latest bombing and the other three, including that it happened at night, did not occur in east Austin, did not appear to be on someone's front porch, may have been set off by a trip wire and may not be a package.

Police said the latest bomb may have been detonated by a trip wire after the two men came upon the device on the side of a road in a residential neighbourhood.

The victims were hospitalized in good condition, though one reportedly suffered from an apparent shrapnel wound caused by a nail.

"The game went up a little bit - well, it went up a lot yesterday with the tripwire", Christopher Combs, FBI agent in charge of the bureau's San Antonio division, said in an interview. "However inconsequential you think it is, that may be the one piece of evidence that we need".

Police said they are still considering whether some of the bombings were hate crimes.

On Sunday, Manley announced a reward of $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person or people responsible. Gov. Police said they will continue to follow up on every lead and will leave no stone unturned.

"We are clearly dealing with a serial bomber", Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said, adding that he was unable to answer questions from reporters about whether the incidents should be considered domestic terrorism.

Just this weekend, Austin police added 50,000 USA dollars to the reward for information that leads to an arrest in the bomb cases, which brought the total reward to 115,000 dollars.

"We have seen similarities in the device that exploded here last night and the other three devices that have exploded in Austin starting on March 2", he said.

The men had been biking or walking their bicycles in southwest Austin when the explosion happened.

At a news conference Monday, Manley said the latest bombing occurred when the two victims either stepped on or kicked a tripwire as they were walking on a sidewalk in the Travis Country neighborhood of Austin. Those explosions killed a man and a teenager, and injured two others.

He said authorities could not confirm whether a specific ideology was behind the attacks, but appealed to those behind the bombings to contact authorities directly. According to Texas Public Radio, Austin police now believe they're dealing with a serial bomber.

"That will not be, at a minimum, until daylight, given the darkness and the size of the area that we want to go in and check to make sure again that this neighborhood is safe".

The suspected tripwire explosive suggests that the bombmaker or makers have a "higher level of sophistication than maybe we initially thought", Manley said. "So, he could change it right now, and that's why we don't want to focus on just one thing to be careful of". Hundreds of federal agents are investigating, along with Austin police. The previous packages were all left at people's homes, authorities said.

The coalition organized a town hall last week to bring together community members and law enforcement after the first three bombings.

The victims of the earlier bombings include Draylen Mason, 17, an orchestral musician and notable essay victor, and Anthony Stephan House, a 39-year-old father.



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