A spate of deadly bombings terrorised the city of Austin, Texas, for weeks in March, as packages exploded outside homes, by the side of a road, and even inside a FedEx facility.
The chaos finally ended Wednesday morning when the suspected bomber fatally blew himself up in his vehicle as law-enforcement officials closed in around him.
The bombing spree ultimately killed two people, not including the suspect, and injured five. Law-enforcement officials identified the suspect as 23-year-old Mark Anthony Conditt.
Here’s what we know about the victims:
Anthony Stephan House, 39 — killed
House was the first victim in the bombing spree that began on March 2, after a package left on his doorstep exploded. He died in a hospital shortly afterward.
House’s friends and family members described him as quiet, but driven. He was father to an eight-year-old girl and graduated from Texas State University in 2008 with a degree in business administration, finance, and financial management services, according to the Austin-American Statesman.
House had been working as a senior project manager for Texas Quarries and Acme Brick, and had recently begun attending Austin Community College, the Statesman reported.
“He wanted to be something different and bigger than what a lot of people thought he was going to do,” a high-school friend, Greg Padgitt, told the Statesman. “He was quiet, but jokey with the kids that he let in. He was a great kid.”
Austin police have faced criticism over how they responded to House’s death – at first, the police department described the explosion as an isolated incident and said there was no threat to the wider community – they even considered the possibility that he’d made the bomb himself.
“We can’t rule out that Mr. House didn’t construct this himself and accidentally detonate it, in which case it would be an accidental death,” Joseph Chacon, the assistant chief of the Austin Police Department, told media at the time.
Draylen Mason, 17 — killed; Shamika Wilson — injured
Mason was killed in an explosion on March 12 from a package left at his door. His mother, Shamika Wilson, was also injured in the blast, though her current condition is unclear.
Mason was a senior at East Austin College Prep and a talented musician who played the double bass, was a member of a mariachi band, and taught music to underserved students in central Texas.
— Austin Statesman (@statesman) March 13, 2018
“He was every inch a musician … the very most remarkable talent in a most remarkable youth orchestra program,” Doug Dempster, dean of the University of Texas’s College of Fine Arts, said in a statement, according to the Austin-American Statesman. “He carried himself with a quiet kind of maturity that belied his youth.”
Mason’s family said Wednesday, through a statement shared by Pastor Gary Renfro of Corinth Missionary Baptist Church, that the bombing suspect’s death had brought them some closure.
“We are a family of faith and we know that with God all things are possible,” the statement said. “The most recent chain of events have brought some sense of closure that our beloved has received justice.”
Esperanza Herrera, 75 — injured
Another package explosion severely injured Herrera on March 12, though authorities believed the package wasn’t intended for her, as it was addressed to another house.
Herrera lost fingers in the explosion and had to have her leg amputated, her cousin Joe Torres told The Washington Post. Her current condition is unclear.
Two unidentified men, 22 and 23 — injured
A fourth explosion injured two men in their 20s on Sunday night after a bomb on the side of a road was set off by a tripwire, according to authorities.
Police said the men were seriously injured, but their current conditions are unknown.
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