Details Emerge About Serial Bombing Suspect

Wednesday, March 21st 2018, 1:07 pm
By: News On 6

The suspect in the spate of bombings in Austin, Texas is dead, Austin police say. Two law enforcement sources identified the suspect to CBS News as 23-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt. 

Police Chief Brian Manley told reporters early Wednesday white male detonated a device in his vehicle after being pursued by police early Wednesday morning. Manley said the suspect's identify wouldn't be officially released until the medical examiner confirmed it and his next of kin are notified. Manley said authorities don't know why the man engaged in the bombings. 

The mayor of the suspected Austin bomber's hometown says the suspect lived only two blocks away from him in a part of the city known as Old Town.

Pflugerville Mayor Victor Gonzales told The Associated Press on Wednesday that police had surveillance on the home overnight Tuesday, though he said he didn't personally know the family. Gonzales says he had concerned neighbors approaching him because of the large police presence in the neighborhood. He says he let them know everything would be OK.

Authorities say the suspect blew himself up overnight in his vehicle in a hotel parking lot in another suburb as a SWAT team closed in on him.

Investigators believe Conditt made all of the bombs used in the four Austin attacks, which killed two people and injured four others.

CBS News

Governor Greg Abbott, speaking to local television station KXAN, said investigators knew who the suspect was for about 24 hours before his arrest and had been following him.

"We knew we were going to be able to apprehend him, we just didn't know when," Abbott said.

He said witnesses spotted a person entering a FedEx store wearing a "crazy" disguise, including a blond wig and gloves, and called police. KEYE obtained pictures from surveillance video taken inside a South Austin FedEx Office store Sunday night, where the person shipped two suspicious packages. From there, investigators were able to track down his identity using cell phone phone pings and vehicle information, Abbott said.

 One of the two packages exploded on a conveyor belt at a FedEx sorting facility outside San Antonio, in Schertz. The second package was intercepted at a facility near the Austin airport.

Authorities believe the same person or persons were connected to the two packages that surfaced Tuesday and were also responsible for the four other explosions that began on March 2nd that killed two people and injured six. 

A sixth unrelated explosion was reported Tuesday evening in South Austin, but Austin Police said it was from military memorabilia left at a Goodwill drop box.

Conditt was a student at Austin Community College from 2010-2012 but didn't graduate, a school spokesman told CBS News. He has not attended since that time. The school says it is working with the Austin Police Department.

According to the Austin-American Statesman, Conditt was home-schooled as a child and had previously worked as a computer repair technician.

A blogger who identified himself as Mark Conditt of Pflugerville described his interests as cycling, tennis and listening to music. In blogs dated from 2012, he wrote that gay marriage should be illegal and called for the elimination of sex offender registrations.  

Speaking on KXAN, Abbott said the suspect wasn't a member of the military, didn't have a criminal history and was unemployed. 

Also unclear is where the suspect made the bombs, Abbott said. He said the suspect lived with roommates and that investigators are speaking with them, trying to find out what information they can share. Investigators don't know whether the suspect made the bombs at the Pflugerville home -- where there was a massive law enforcement presence Wednesday -- or at some other location.

"I think we will be able to piece together the puzzle of who this man was and why it is he did what he did," Abbott told KXAN. "That will be able to resolve a lot of the uncertainty that still exists."