BREAKING UPDATE: An explosion reported in south Austin at the 9800 block of Brodie Ln around 7:00 PM has now been determined by police NOT to be a package bomb; Austin Police officals say the explosion was due to an “incindiary device” and does not appear to be related to the previous Austin bombings.
This morning’s story (updated with developments that took place throughout the day):
A package that exploded earlier this morning in a FedEx sorting facility is believed to be the fifth device to detonate, in a pattern of serial bombings in the Austin area that began less than three weeks ago.
San Antonio police said an explosion in a FedEx sorting facility located at 9900 block of Doerr Lane in Schertz—about 75 miles southwest of Austin— was reported to authorities at approximately 12:25 AM today. Upon arrival at the scene, police said they confirmed an explosion had occurred at the facility and additional resources were called to the scene.
Police stated that medical workers examined one employee of the facility—of the 75 employees present at the time incident—for “ringing of the ears” and she was released at the scene.
In a statement to the press, FedEx confirmed that one of their employees was treated for “minor injuries” and that a bomb had exploded in a FedEx Ground sorting facility; the company stated that they were not providing “additional specific information about this package at this time.”
Sources told local news stations that the package in question was “medium in size” and exploded on a conveyor belt in a sorting area after a mechanical arm struck it; sources said the package contained shrapnel and nails—this is similar to what was discovered in the blast sites of the four previous bombs.
Later in the morning, Sunset Valley Police stated that the package in question was mailed from a FedEx drop-off shop at 5601 Brodie Ln in Sunset Valley—an independent area within south Austin—and addressed to another location in Austin; the exact location or whether it was residence or commercial building was not immediately made clear by authorities.
Sources told local news stations that another package may have been mailed form this same FedEx shop, this one possibly ending up at a FedEx facility located on McKinney Falls Pkwy, nearby to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
At a press conference held around noon, officials from the Austin Police Department stated that they were investigating a suspicious package at the McKinney Falls Pkwy FedEx facility, but would not confirm that the package was related to the one that exploded earlier in the day.
By the afternoon, officials from the ATF’s Houston office confirmed that both packages—the one that exploded in Schertz, as well as the suspicious package in the FedEx facility on McKinney Falls Pkwy —are believed to be related to the other bombing incidents that previously took place in Austin.
ATF, @FBI & @Austin_Police confirm that two packages located at two separate FedEx facilities in Austin/San Antonio area on 3/20/2018 are connected to the four previous package explosions that occurred between 3/2 and 3/18 in Austin, TX
— ATF Houston (@ATFHou) March 20, 2018
The Austin Police Department said that they responded to 420 calls of suspicious between 8 AM yesterday and 8 AM today; this brings the total number of calls to 1,257 since approximately 8 AM on March 12th—about hour after the second bomb believed to have been placed by the suspected serial bomber(s) detonated in East Austin, killing 17-year-old Draylen Mason and seriously injuring his mother.
— Marla Carter (@MarlaABC13) March 20, 2018