Authorities: 'Reasonable level of certainty' no more bombs out i - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Authorities: 'Reasonable level of certainty' no more bombs out in public

Mark A. Conditt died after apparently blowing himself up amid a police pursuit. (Source: Facebook/CNN) Mark A. Conditt died after apparently blowing himself up amid a police pursuit. (Source: Facebook/CNN)
Local media reports say a suspect connected to the Austin bombings has died. (Source: KEYE/CNN) Local media reports say a suspect connected to the Austin bombings has died. (Source: KEYE/CNN)
A search was conducted at the home of Mark Conditt. Media reported that a SWAT was at the scene. (Source: KEYE/CNN) A search was conducted at the home of Mark Conditt. Media reported that a SWAT was at the scene. (Source: KEYE/CNN)

ROUND ROCK, TX (RNN) – Law enforcement officials continue to make sure Austin is safe in the wake of serial bombings allegedly committed by suspect Mark Anthony Conditt.

A federal official said Wednesday afternoon that there was a "reasonable level of certainty" no more package bombs were "out in the public," but still urged the greater Austin community to remain aware of suspicious packages.

Two people lost their lives from the series of bombings in and near Austin, TX, which took place from March 2 to March 20, and five others suffered injuries in the incidents.

Conditt, whom investigators identified as the suspect, died after authorities said he blew himself up with one of his bombs after a short police pursuit early Wednesday.

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said during a Wednesday evening news conference that he considers a 25-minute cellphone recording found on Conditt, in which the suspect details the different bombs he'd built, as a "confession."

Manley described the confessional recording as "the outcry of a very challenged young man."

The police chief also detailed the moments before Conditt died, saying that he detonated a bomb in his car seconds after Austin police approached him and banged on his window. The blast knocked back the officers. An officer then fired his gun at Conditt.

The county medical examiner hasn't determined Conditt's exact cause of death, but Manley said the bomb caused "significant" injuries to Conditt. 

Later Wednesday, during an investigation of Conditt's home in nearby Pflugerville, surrounding homes were being evacuated, the Associated Press reported, as authorities prepared to use a robot to find possible explosives.

Authorities said Wednesday afternoon they'd recovered bomb-making components from the home, which Conditt shared with two roommates. The Austin Police Department and federal authorities said in a statement that they were "working to safely remove and dispose of" the explosives.

The city of Pflugerville said city hall was closed as a section of downtown was evacuated amid the bombing investigation.

A SWAT vehicle arrived at Mark Conditt's home in Pflugerville, 18 miles north of Austin, on Wednesday, media at the scene reported. 

“Get your hands up,” the team said to whoever may still be in the house, according to a WFAA reporter.

Authorities are conducting a followup investigation into suspicious packages, including at a FedEx location near the airport, Austin PD reported.

The facility was temporarily evacuated during the search as a precaution.

Authorities also detained Conditt's two roommates for questioning. Their names were not released because they were not placed under arrest.

David Bronczek, chief operating officer for FedEx, credited "our advanced security capabilities and vigilance of our team members" with helping authorities find the suspect.

Rep. Michael McCaul, a Republican who represents Austin on Capitol Hill, said the suspect was caught on surveillance video at a FedEx store, and that officials were able to glean his license plate number, identify him and track what he bought at Home Depot, the AP reported.

McCaul said Conditt bought nails and other bomb-making equipment at Home Depot; McCaul said the suspect bought batteries for the explosive devices over the Internet.

Public safety personnel came to Austin High School and "cleared" it as a part of a followup investigation, the school district tweeted, adding "students and staff are safe." 

A law enforcement official said Conditt was seeking additional Austin area addresses before his death, the Austin American Statesman said.

Pflugerville Mayor Victor Gonzales told the AP that Conditt lived two blocks away from him, but he did not have a personal relationship with the family. 

Relatives of Conditt's said Wednesday they were stunned by the news.

The family is "devastated and broken at the news that our family could be involved in such an awful way," an aunt of Conditt's said Wednesday in a statement to CNN.

"We had no idea of the darkness that Mark must have been in. Our family is a normal family in every way," said the aunt. "We love, we pray, and we try to inspire and serve others. Right now our prayers are for those families that have lost loved ones, for those impacted in any way, and for the soul of our Mark. We are grieving and we are in shock."

The aunt, who revealed only her first name, Shanee, said she last saw her nephew over Christmas: "Christmas was wonderful. We played cards. We laughed, we went to shows together."

Mary Conditt, Mark Conditt's grandmother, said she never saw signs of violence or malice from the suspect: "If anything, he's low-key and peaceful."

Conditt's uncle, Mike Courtney, told the AP that his nephew was a smart and kind "computer geek," and that he doesn't "know that anybody saw this coming."

A Conditt family friend told ABC News: "The family is a normal Christian family. There was nothing going on with Mark when I knew him. I knew him as a teenager. He reminded me of every teenage boy, it was hard to get a smile out of him."

A friend of Conditt's, however, painted a darker picture of the suspect. Jeremiah Jensen told the Austin American-Statesman that Conditt was often intimidating and "rough around the edges."

Chief Manley said in an early Wednesday morning news conference that the deceased suspect responsible for the serial bombings was a 24-year-old male but declined to identify him. 

Neighbors said the man was 23, was homeschooled, and attended Austin Community College but did not graduate.

He was employed at Crux Semiconductor in Austin as a “purchasing agent/buyer/shipping and receiving,” the Austin American Statesman said.

Crux Semiconductor hired him when he was 19 and fired him last August for not meeting job expectations, the owner told KVUE. 

The owner of Crux Semiconductor described him as a "quiet and introverted" man who went about his job in his own way. He was never confrontational.

Austin residents should remain vigilant as law enforcement officials are concerned that there may be additional devices in the community, Christopher Combs of the FBI said.

"We do not understand what motivated him to do what he did," Manley said, nor do they know if he worked alone or with accomplices.

Through teamwork with state and federal officials, "we ultimately located a vehicle that the suspect was driving at a hotel in Round Rock" on Tuesday night, Manley said.

Police reportedly used a blend of security video, cellphone technology and receipts to track down the suspect. 

On Tuesday, multiple law enforcement officials took position around the hotel, waiting for tactical vehicles to arrive for the safe apprehension of the suspect.

While authorities awaited the vehicles' arrival, the suspect drove away from the hotel. Police followed, Manley said.

He then pulled off the road onto the frontage road.

As members of law enforcement approached his vehicle, he blew it up, the chief said. A law enforcement officer sustained minor injuries, getting knocked back by the blast.

Another law enforcement member discharged his weapon.

Manley said authorities were able to discern similarities between the bombs.

In a tweet at 5:30 a.m. ET, the Houston division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said officials were at the scene with police and FBI agents.

The Austin Police Department tweeted early Wednesday morning that they were working an officer-involved shooting in Round Rock, a city about 19 miles from Austin.

President Donald Trump congratulated law enforcement officers Wednesday, following the news of the suspect's death.

A package bomb killed 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House on March 2 at his home and another package bomb claimed the life of 17-year-old Draylen Mason at his mother's home on March 12.

The blast also injured Mason's mother.

The third package bomb detonated a few hours later on March 12 and left one person injured.

A tripwire-activated bomb detonated near a road in Travis County on March 18 and injured two people. Those victims are expected to fully recover.

The fifth device, another package bomb, exploded in a FedEx ground facility in Schertz, TX, on March 20 and injured one person. FedEx confirmed that the person responsible for sending it also shipped a second package, a sixth device.

It was secured in in a FedEx facility near the Austin airport and turned over to law enforcement.

Authorities originally believed the attacks could be racially motivated, but the fourth bomb appeared random, rather than targeted, the AP reported.

Police responded to another incident, initially reported as a seventh bomb, on March 20, but determined that an incendiary device had "initiated" at an Austin Goodwill, injuring one employee. Police said they believed the incident was unrelated.

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