Editor’s note: On Wednesday, March 21, 2018, the suspected serial bomber was identified as Mark Anthony Conditt. While being pursued by Austin police, a bomb detonated inside his vehicle leading to his death.
In contrast to the sunny weather and jubilant atmosphere of last weekend’s South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, many people in the state capital’s historically Black and Latino neighborhoods were enduring fresh trauma and uncertainty.
The city’s east side had been the site of three package bombings since the beginning of the month, two of them deadly and all of the victims people of color.
For weeks, terrified neighbors waited without any word from authorities about a suspect or motive. Parents warned their children not to touch any unexpected packages, while police and FBI agents combed their neighborhoods. Community leaders voiced fears that the victims were targeted because of their connection to prominent local families.
On Sunday night, a fourth bomb exploded in another part of Austin, leaving two people injured, both of them white.
This time, the explosion occurred in a wealthy, mostly white neighborhood on the southwest side of Austin. The bomb was triggered by a tripwire laid across a residential sidewalk, in contrast to the three previous package bombs that were left at specific homes.
Then, as this article was being readied for publication on Tuesday, a package bomb exploded at a FedEx facility, and a second package apparently sent by the same person was discovered unexploded at a separate facility. According to news reports, both packages were sent from Austin to destinations in Austin.
The first package bomb was…