AuthorTopic: The Austin Bomber  (Read 523 times)

Offline Eddie

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The Austin Bomber
« on: March 13, 2018, 09:48:13 AM »
I missed the first bombing, which happened a couple of weeks ago, apparently on March 2nd. It was reported intially as a "suspicious death, and not a bombing.

These last two got my attention.

Police say the bombings are linked. Duh.

I have changed my mind about it being some transient in town for the SXSW festival, because of the timing of the first explosion, and...the pattern of WHERE these bombs have been planted.

Austin is not as segregated racially as it once was, but the East Side has a history of being the black part of town, and some pockets of it are very old Hispanic neighborhoods as well.

The neighborhoods and houses the bomber is picking are not slums. They are now mostly very mixed neighborhoods of modest but well kept homes.

All the homes targeted were well kept and in good repair and looked exactly like the adjacent homes. Nothing to make them stand out. Modest bungalows with small yards.

I bet he doesn't necessarily even know he's been targeting blacks and hispanics. If he does know, it's because he has some kind of local information, like he's the paper boy, or some other menial delivery type who visits these neighborhoods. In fact, I wonder if the victims all take the local paper. If he isn't the paper boy, then maybe he's some kind of appliance repairman or yard man, or some other" "invisible" loser.

The bombings are spread along a north/south corridor that is conspicuously convenient to a major traffic artery  (Airport BLVD) that would be used regularly by anyone making deliveries in these East Side neighborhoods.

The first bombing was near the north end of the artery in a newish neighborhood of lower end tract houses that are probably mostly owner occupied. The second and third bombings were close to each other at the southern end of the same stretch of what I'd call Mid-East inner city Austin.

So I think he's local, and either lives on that side of town or works there regularly.

« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 10:26:44 AM by Eddie »
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Offline RE

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Re: The Austin Bomber
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2018, 10:14:12 AM »
The FBI says the bombs were fairly "sophisticated" in construction.  That doesn't sound like the work of a Paper Boy.  ::)

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2018/03/13/austin-police-search-for-bombing-motive-say-explosives-made-with-skill-and-sophistication/?utm_term=.09e3d5d47e1c

Austin police search for bombing motive, say explosives made with ‘skill and sophistication’
by Mark Berman and Matt Zapotosky March 13 at 12:21 PM Email the author
0:49
Here’s what we know about the Austin package attacks


Three package explosions in Austin have left two people dead. One explosion killed a man on March 2 and another two packages exploded on March 12. (Patrick Martin/The Washington Post)

Police and federal investigators continued searching Tuesday for answers about a string of packages that have exploded at homes in Austin this month, killing two people, seriously injuring two others and unnerving the city at a time when it is flooded with visitors for the South by Southwest Festival.

While police have not provided specific details about the explosive devices, they have said the three packages that detonated at three homes several miles apart over an 11-day span appear to be related — and the work of a person or people who know what they are doing.

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said Tuesday that “the suspect or suspects that are building these devices” have been able to construct and deliver deadly bombs without setting them off at any point.

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“When the victims have picked these packages up, they have at that point exploded,” Manley said on KXAN, an Austin television station. “There’s a certain level of skill and sophistication that whoever is doing this has.”

[ Three ‘powerful’ package explosions in Austin that killed 2 are connected, police say ]

Precisely what motivated the attacks remained a mystery Tuesday, though officials have said they do not believe there is any connection between the bombings and the festival.

Police have urged people to use caution, telling them to call 911 if they see a potentially suspicious or unexpected package, and residents across Austin have heeded that warning, calling authorities about 150 times between Monday morning and Tuesday morning. Nothing dangerous was found after any of those calls, according to Manley.

Authorities said they were looking into whether the bombings could have been a hate crime, noting that the two people who were killed — an adult man and a teenage boy — were both black, while an elderly woman seriously injured Monday is Hispanic.

Police were also looking into connections between the victims themselves. The two victims who were killed were both related to prominent members of Austin’s African American community, and they have relatives who are close, leading families to wonder whether these connections played some role.

“Are you trying to say something to prominent African American families?” said Freddie Dixon, stepfather of Anthony Stephan House, the 39-year-old killed in the first explosion on March 2. “I don’t know who they’ve been targeting, but for sure, they went and got one of my best friend’s grandson. Somebody knew the connection.”

Dixon said he is good friends with Norman Mason, whose grandson was the teenager killed in the explosion early Monday morning. The teenager has not been formally identified by police, though they say that could come Tuesday. Mason’s wife, LaVonne, confirmed that her grandson was the 17-year-old victim but declined to comment further.

Manley, asked on television Tuesday morning about the ties between the two victims who were killed, said police were “going to look into … if there is any connection there that would be relevant to the investigation.”

Dixon said he used to be the pastor at Wesley United Methodist Church, which the Masons attend, and he and Norman Mason were longtime friends and fraternity brothers. Dixon said he spoke with Norman Mason on Monday, describing him as understandably distraught.

“It’s not just coincidental,” Dixon said. “Somebody’s done their homework on both of us, and they knew what they were doing.”

Dixon said while he knew of no one who bore a grudge against his stepson, he could not help but think about his and Mason’s family ties and their prominence in Austin’s African American community.

“My diagnosis: Number one, I think it’s a hate crime. Number two, somebody’s got some kind of vendetta here,” he said, remarking of the third victim, a Hispanic woman who he said he did not know: “Is she a diversion to throw this off, and lead to something else?”

Manley said police continue searching to see if there is any ideology that could have motivated the attack. He also said authorities remain uncertain whether the people hurt or killed were the specific targets of the attacks.

    🚨If you receive a package that you are not expecting or looks suspicious, DO NOT open it, call 911 immediately. RT- Help us spread this message. 🚨 https://t.co/j9bxbaaBce
    — Chief Brian Manley (@chief_manley) March 12, 2018

Authorities had initially said the first blast — a March 2 explosion that killed House — was “suspicious” but likely “an isolated incident” that posed no ongoing danger to the community.

The explosion “sounded like a cannon,” said Kenneth Thompson Sr., who lives across the street from the house where the first explosion occurred.

The police narrative of an isolated explosion suddenly shifted Monday when a pair of blasts went off. The first explosion early Monday morning killed the teenager and seriously injured an adult woman. Later in the morning, investigators at that scene had to rush miles away to respond to the second explosion, which seriously injured a woman identified by her relatives as Esperanza Herrera.

Authorities work on the scene of one of the Austin explosions. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman/AP)

Police soon said they believed all three attacks were related because of evidence recovered at all three scenes. Rianne Philips, who lives next door to House, said she was alarmed to hear about the bombings Monday but relieved it meant police would be more focused on House’s death.

“They’re not going to let this slide,” Philips said. “It’s really sad, but this means there’s a lot of attention on this now.”

Manley on Tuesday said that authorities believing the first blast was isolated “didn’t slow anything down” in the investigation, stressing that House’s death was still being investigated by Austin police and federal officials alike. After that explosion, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sent a team to help process the scene.

ATF’s involvement ramped up Monday with the second and third explosions. The agency said it was sending members of its National Response Team (NRT) to help with the investigation. That group is activated for particularly large-scale or complicated fires and explosions, including the West, Tex., plant fire in 2013 and the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said his office is offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or people responsible for the “atrocious attacks.”

Shane Harris in Austin contributed to this report, which has been updated.
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Offline Eddie

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Re: The Austin Bomber
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2018, 10:55:50 AM »
The two black victims had ties to to the same church, but it's one of the older, bigger congregations on that side of town. My guess is that's a coincidence, although I understand why that would make the families and their acquaintances suspicious.

The little Mexican grandma was almost certainly not tied to the other victims, unless they might have been involved in some kind of neighborhood politics of some kind. I doubt it.

It looks like random targets tied by geography.

"Sophisticated" is probably not a good word to describe this kind of bomb. It probably was a pipe bomb with screws or nails and gunpowder, with some kind of battery to provide the detonation. Sophisticated, in this context, just means the so far the bomber has been good enough at his craft not to blow himself up.

I'm guessing young white male. The typical crazy-ass modern mass murderer. I'm sure he has some kind of agenda.

White supremacist? Could be. Maybe he drives over from somewhere northeast or northwest. The very northern edge of his territory would be a convenient access across the interstate, and he could then cruise up and down Airport Blvd, ducking into random neighborhoods to leave packages.

No manifesto. Maybe he's just practicing. On a power high.
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Offline Eddie

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Re: The Austin Bomber
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2018, 11:05:38 AM »
These crimes can be difficult to solve. They'd have never caught Ted K. if his family hadn't turned him in.

It took APD years to catch the guy who was throwing rocks through car windshields on downtown I-35. First they thought it was transients tossing rocks off overpasses. Turned out it was a weirdo guy who used to show up at city council meetings. He was tossing the rocks out his car window, across the median into the incoming traffic. He was well known to the cops, had been a tow truck driver (I think), and had a sex charge pending for molesting some teenage boy. He was giving the kid money for sex, but some family member turned him in.

The bomber will be some kind of weirdo "legend in his own mind" type too. Lives in Mom's spare bedroom (no basements here).
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Offline Golden Oxen

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Re: The Austin Bomber
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2018, 11:54:19 AM »
These crimes can be difficult to solve. They'd have never caught Ted K. if his family hadn't turned him in.

It took APD years to catch the guy who was throwing rocks through car windshields on downtown I-35. First they thought it was transients tossing rocks off overpasses. Turned out it was a weirdo guy who used to show up at city council meetings. He was tossing the rocks out his car window, across the median into the incoming traffic. He was well known to the cops, had been a tow truck driver (I think), and had a sex charge pending for molesting some teenage boy. He was giving the kid money for sex, but some family member turned him in.

The bomber will be some kind of weirdo "legend in his own mind" type too. Lives in Mom's spare bedroom (no basements here).

Reminds me of the Son of Sam, that was another super crazy guy. Amazing it took so long to grab him. Said he was getting his orders from his neighbors dog. Can't get much more touched in the head than that.

                                           

Offline Eddie

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Re: The Austin Bomber
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2018, 12:23:17 PM »
I just learned that the young man (teenager) who was killed used to get music lessons from my son-in-law.
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Offline RE

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Re: The Austin Bomber
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2018, 02:16:31 PM »
The two black victims had ties to to the same church, but it's one of the older, bigger congregations on that side of town. My guess is that's a coincidence, although I understand why that would make the families and their acquaintances suspicious.

The little Mexican grandma was almost certainly not tied to the other victims, unless they might have been involved in some kind of neighborhood politics of some kind. I doubt it.

It looks like random targets tied by geography.

"Sophisticated" is probably not a good word to describe this kind of bomb. It probably was a pipe bomb with screws or nails and gunpowder, with some kind of battery to provide the detonation. Sophisticated, in this context, just means the so far the bomber has been good enough at his craft not to blow himself up.

I'm guessing young white male. The typical crazy-ass modern mass murderer. I'm sure he has some kind of agenda.

White supremacist? Could be. Maybe he drives over from somewhere northeast or northwest. The very northern edge of his territory would be a convenient access across the interstate, and he could then cruise up and down Airport Blvd, ducking into random neighborhoods to leave packages.

No manifesto. Maybe he's just practicing. On a power high.

You don't know there is no manifesto, or just a note.  All you know is that the FBI hasn't released any information on this one way or the other.  Otherwise, everything you predict about this bomber is based on preconceived notions of who pulls off this kind of stunt.  We're not going to know until either he (they) starts dropping notes along with the bombs or he (they) gets caught.

You also can't say anything about the construction of the bombs, since no information on that has been released either.  The triggering mechanism was no doubt electric, but setting one of those up is outside the range of most people.  Then he has to get hold of his explosive material without getting caught.  What is he using for that?  The FBI hasn't released those details either.

One thing you can predict with reasonable assurance is that since he (or they) have had 3 successes so far and not been caught, there will be another attempt.

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Offline Eddie

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Re: The Austin Bomber
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2018, 04:51:31 PM »
The two black victims had ties to to the same church, but it's one of the older, bigger congregations on that side of town. My guess is that's a coincidence, although I understand why that would make the families and their acquaintances suspicious.

The little Mexican grandma was almost certainly not tied to the other victims, unless they might have been involved in some kind of neighborhood politics of some kind. I doubt it.

It looks like random targets tied by geography.

"Sophisticated" is probably not a good word to describe this kind of bomb. It probably was a pipe bomb with screws or nails and gunpowder, with some kind of battery to provide the detonation. Sophisticated, in this context, just means the so far the bomber has been good enough at his craft not to blow himself up.

I'm guessing young white male. The typical crazy-ass modern mass murderer. I'm sure he has some kind of agenda.

White supremacist? Could be. Maybe he drives over from somewhere northeast or northwest. The very northern edge of his territory would be a convenient access across the interstate, and he could then cruise up and down Airport Blvd, ducking into random neighborhoods to leave packages.

No manifesto. Maybe he's just practicing. On a power high.

You don't know there is no manifesto, or just a note.  All you know is that the FBI hasn't released any information on this one way or the other.  Otherwise, everything you predict about this bomber is based on preconceived notions of who pulls off this kind of stunt.  We're not going to know until either he (they) starts dropping notes along with the bombs or he (they) gets caught.

I'm speculating, based on the facts as they are made known. I'm guessing, and I want to see if I'm right.

You also can't say anything about the construction of the bombs, since no information on that has been released either.  The triggering mechanism was no doubt electric, but setting one of those up is outside the range of most people.  Then he has to get hold of his explosive material without getting caught.  What is he using for that?  The FBI hasn't released those details either.

If you listen to the police interview (I did) the police chief used the term "sophisticated" based on exactly the criteria I stated.
That he/they were sophisticated enough to build bombs that worked as planned, and he/they managed to not blow themselves up.

I read quite a bit about parcel bombs. They aren't all that sophisticated. They are usually pipe bombs and use a safety fuse (like an automobile fuse) or a model rocket starter (like the Boston Marathon bombs) for a detonator. The explosive is usually gunpowder and the shrapnel is screws or nails. The bomb is triggered by a switch attached to a string that gets pulled when you open the box. A few 9 volt batteries provide the juice. More sophistication would be wiring in a cell phone for a trigger. These bombs don't appear to be that high tech.
 


One thing you can predict with reasonable assurance is that since he (or they) have had 3 successes so far and not been caught, there will be another attempt.

Unless is wasn't random. It looks random to me though.

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Offline RE

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Re: The Austin Bomber
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2018, 04:59:50 PM »
Unless is wasn't random. It looks random to me though.

Why would someone just randomly bomb 3 people and then just quit doing it?  This person if not on some kind of agenda is getting a thrill from the power it gives him.  Same reason you have serial killers and serial rapists.  However, it could be quite some time before he feels the need to kill again.

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Offline Eddie

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Re: The Austin Bomber
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2018, 05:25:09 PM »
No....what I meant is that he might stop if the bombs were not random, but rather targeted at certain people. Because he killed the specific people he was going after.

Yeah, if it's a thrill kill, and more or less random, I'd look for him to lay low for a few weeks and then try again. Of course nobody but nobody in this town is going to open a suspicious package anytime soon.

But I do think it's largely random. Maybe he is targeting the east side because in his mind it's all a black neighborhood. I'm not completely ruling out the White Supremacist idea.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 05:27:46 PM by Eddie »
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Offline Eddie

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Re: The Austin Bomber
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2018, 09:54:10 AM »
One new theory on the Austin bombings is that the bomb who gravely injured the hispanic little-old-lady (third and last bomb) was intended for a neighbor a couple of doors down, who has the same last name as one of the black familes bombed in an earlier blast. She is not related, but perhaps the bomber thought she was.


Police question Austin woman they think may have been bombing target

Sean Collins Walsh  American-Statesman Staff
 10:44 p.m Wednesday, March 14, 2018  Local News
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LOCAL

East Austin resident Erica Mason, whose neighbor was injured in one of three recent package explosions that have gripped the city, talked to investigators Wednesday about whether she was related to the Mason family that was targeted in at least one of the bombings.

Mason, who is from Iowa, isn’t related to the Mason family that is prominent in Austin’s African-American community. But police have developed a theory that the bomber may have mistaken her for another member of the family.

AUSTIN BOMBINGS: Click here for complete coverage

If the theory proves true, the bomber then made two mistakes: targeting the wrong Mason and accidentally placing the package two doors down — at the house of Maria Moreno, whose 75-year-old daughter Esperanza Herrera was critically injured after picking it up.

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“They basically just wanted to know if I was a relative or married to one of them, if I was in any way associated with the family,” Erica Mason told the American-Statesman. “If I was associated with the family, it could have been that they were trying to come after me.”

Mason said she feels “survivor’s guilt” for possibly being the target of a bomb that hurt Herrera, who she had seen in the past taking care of her mother but had not met.

READ MORE: Police respond to hundreds of suspicious package reports.

“It is spooky, and I don’t if it’s more terrifying that it could have happened to me or my boyfriend,” Erica Mason said, “and that it happened to this poor, sweet, innocent woman.”

The other two bombings both occurred at the homes of people connected to the Mason family of Austin.

Anthony House, the first person killed when a bomb exploded on his porch, is the son of the Rev. Freddie Dixon. Dixon is a close friend of Dr. Norman Mason, grandfather of 17-year-old Draylen Mason, who was killed Monday morning in a package bomb attack that also injured his mother.

Staff writer Tony Plohetski contributed reporting.

https://www.statesman.com/news/local/police-question-austin-woman-they-think-may-have-been-bombing-target/gLcQXFRiDz8MLrknPjbyTL/

The only other bit of info that's new is that one article I read suggested that the bombs were motion sensitive and had some kind of safety switch that kept the explosives from detonating before they were in place.

I am giving some credence to the theory that it might be some kind of personal vendetta against the black families, who were fairly prominent in East Austin Afro-American local politics.

So we might be looking for someone like a disgruntled white racist East Austinite who blamed the black families for some slight, or targeted them because they were activists. (Although calling them activists is stretching it. They were just community leaders, from what I gather.) Maybe some neighbor of the church who didn't like church-goers parking in front of his house....something that stupid.


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« Last Edit: March 17, 2018, 11:09:03 AM by Eddie »
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Offline Eddie

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Re: The Austin Bomber
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2018, 11:17:34 AM »
I think Fred Burton of Stratfor is a local guy.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/sv8cFenK8vk&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/sv8cFenK8vk&fs=1</a>
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