Police evacuate area around likely Pflugerville home of bombing suspect

Suspect blew himself up in confrontation with police early Wednesday

By Ben Spicer - Web Producer, Max Massey - Video Journalist

ROUND ROCK, Texas - Updated at 11:45 a.m.:
  
The SUV where the Austin bombing suspect blew himself up has been hauled away.
  
Crews loaded the red vehicle and two large white vans that apparently forced the SUV off the road onto flat-bed trucks which then drove away.
  
Bomb squads subsequently began checking the ground under where the vehicles had been parked.
  
Authorities say the 24-year-old suspect blew himself up as a SWAT team approached his SUV, which had been parked in a motel parking lot in the Austin suburb of Round Rock.
  
Investigators believe he made all four of the bombs that were planted around Austin this month and that killed two people and injured four others.
  
Updated at 11:30 a.m.:
  
Pflugerville police have begun evacuating the area around the home of the Austin bombings suspect and federal authorities are preparing to deploy an anti-explosives robot.
  
Pflugerville police Cmdr. Keith Ritchie says the FBI told local police to evacuate the area late Wednesday morning. Reporters waiting nearby are being pushed back and neighbors are being evacuated from their homes.
  
Ritchie says the order came after investigators searched the suspect's home and surrounding area.
  
He says he doesn't know what prompted the order.
  
An ATF vehicle could be seen arriving and officials were unloading an anti-blast robot.

 

UPDATE: Law enforcement officials have identified the dead Austin bombing suspect was Mark Anthony Conditt.

The official, who has been briefed on the investigation, spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to discuss the case publicly.

Pflugerville Mayor Victor Gonzales told the AP that the bombing suspect lived in his city, which is not far from the site of the first of four bombings.

Reporters have converged on a neighborhood in Pflugerville where Conditt supposedly lived.

Police have blocked off the roads around Wilbarger and Second streets, which is not far from where a package bomb killed a 39-year-old man on March 2.

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Here's the latest on the Austin bombings (all times local):

Austin's mayor is urging residents to remain vigilant, despite the death of a man suspected in this month's string of bombings in Texas' capital city.

(Image via Facebook)

Mayor Steve Adler said Wednesday on NBC's "Today" show that: "We're just really relieved and just incredibly thankful for this army of law enforcement that has been in our community here for the last week or so."

A federal agent says it's "hard to say" whether the dead suspect in this month's Austin bombings was acting alone.

Fred Milanowski, agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms' Houston Field Division, told reporters Wednesday that investigators believe the dead suspect built all of four of the package bombs.

5:35 a.m.

The authorities believe the suspect who died with SWAT officers closing in on him was behind all of the bombings in Austin this month, but they’re concerned that there may be other package bombs “that are still out there.”

FBI agent Chris Combs, head of the agency’s San Antonio office, says, “We are concerned that there may be other packages that are still out there.”

5:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump tweeted his praise of law enforcement after the suspect in the Austin bombings blew himself up.

Trump tweeted 'AUSTIN BOMBING SUSPECT IS DEAD,' adds 'great job' by law enforcement.

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(Original Story)

The suspect in a spate of bombing attacks that have terrorized Austin over the past month blew himself up with an explosive device as authorities closed in, officials said early Wednesday.

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said at a press conference Wednesday that authorities had zeroed in on the suspect in the last 24 to 36 hours and located him at a hotel on Interstate 35 in the Austin suburb of Round Rock.

RELATED: Residents urged to stay vigilant, report suspicious packages

RELATED: Former FBI leader, bomb technician believes serial bomber is professional, not novice

Officers were waiting for ballistic vehicles to arrive when his vehicle began to drive away, Manley said. Authorities then followed the vehicle, which stopped in a ditch on the side of the road.

When members of the SWAT team approached, the suspect detonated an explosive device inside the vehicle, the police chief said. The blast knocked back one officer, while a second officer fired his weapon, Manley said.

The suspect, who suffered significant injuries from the blast, was killed. Authorities identified him only as a 24-year-old white man. Manley said the suspect's name won't be released until his next of kin are notified.

Officials said it was too soon to say if the suspect had worked alone in the bombings. They also said they don’t know the suspect’s motive.

Manley said authorities want the public to be vigilant with their surroundings as they do not know where the suspect went in the past 24 hours. 

Residents should not approach any unknown or suspicious packages or items and keep a safe distance and notify authorities immediately. You can read more on what to do here.

The FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Austin Police are currently at the scene. All inbound lanes of Interstate 35 are closed due to the heavy police presence. Traffic is currently at a stand still. KSAT 12 is reporting from the scene.

RELATED: Austin Bombing Timeline

Austin has been targeted by four package bombings since March 2 that killed two people and wounded four others. A fifth parcel bomb detonated at a FedEx distribution center in Schertz early Tuesday.

This is a developing story. Stay with KSAT 12 both online and on-air for more information.

Copyright 2018 by KSAT. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.