Sarah Jannings

AUSTIN, TEXAS- The suspect in a series of bombing attacks in Austin, Texas, that killed two people, injured four others, and terrified the entire city, blew himself up with an explosive device as authorities closed in on him in an automobile on Wednesday, March 21st. The operation was aided by different uses of technology, including surveillance cameras and cell phone triangulation.  

The suspect, who has been identified as 23-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt, was killed near the motel in the suburb of Round Rock in which he was traced to thanks to surveillance footage from a Federal Express drop-off store.  The police were waiting for ballistic vehicles to arrive when the suspect drove off, according to the Austin Chief Police.

¨I don’t even know what to say to be honest.  I can’t believe these kind of things have been happening right now and recently there have been so many scary things happening in America,¨ said senior Inae Choi, who is an international student here from South Korea.

Police followed his vehicle, which stopped in a ditch on the side of the road.  When a SWAT team approached, the man detonated an explosive device inside the vehicle.  The blast knocked back one officer, while a second cop fired his gun.

The suspect, who suffered significant injuries from the blast, was killed.  Police said it was too soon to say if the man had worked alone. They also said they don’t know his motive.  

¨I feel like the police will be more relaxed now that they have caught the serial bomber, even if he is dead, but still on alert because they do not know how many other people might be working with this man,¨ said freshman Eli Zarotney.

The residents have been urged to remain vigilant, saying police don’t know where the bomber has been for the past 24 hours and what packages he’s sent.  

¨The police have taken the correct actions and there is nothing really more that they can do in this situation.  This is a terrible situation because innocent people aren’t expecting to die because those people weren’t expecting to get a package that would blow them up.  I think it is good that the police are enforcing the people of Austin to not touch any packages outside of their houses just in case they could be bombs,¨ said Zarotney.

As the Austin bomber sensed that authorities were closing in on him on Tuesday night, he took out his cell phone and recorded a 25-minute video confessing to building the explosive devices, but didn’t explain why he targeted his victims, interim Austin police Chief Brian Manley said.

¨His motives, in my opinion, was to try to get attention and he knew he could just do anything and it’s happening here in America and it just makes it that much more scary,¨ said sophomore Rafael Villegas.
One room in the house in Pflugerville, where Conditt lived, had components for making similar bombs to the ones that exploded in a string of incidents this month. There was also similar homemade explosive material in the room, however, no finished bombs were found.  

¨I feel like everything that has been happening has been pretty messed up and the 2018 attacks have not been good.  The police can only do so much and what they are paid for. I keep wondering what is next to come,¨ said Villegas.

The interim chief said the bomber indicated in his video that he would have continued his attacks if police hadn’t been getting close to finding him.  The people in southern Texas, along with the rest of the country, mourn the ones who lost their lives due to this man, but also wait in suspense to see what exactly could happen next.