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Austin Suspect Dies In Explosion, Police Say


Details are continuing to emerge this morning from Austin, Texas, where police say the man believed to have carried out a string of deadly package bombings is dead. NPR has confirmed with federal law enforcement officials that the suspect was a white male in his 20s named Mark Anthony Conditt. Conditt blew himself up this morning in a standoff with police. And we're going to turn now to Nadia Hamdan. She's a reporter and the MORNING EDITION host with member station KUT in Austin. And, Nadia, what can you tell us about Conditt at this point?

NADIA HAMDAN, BYLINE: So obviously, we're working really hard to learn a little bit more about who this man is. But as of right now, we are aware that he lives in a neighborhood in Pflugerville. Pflugerville is about 20 minutes north of Austin, right next to Round Rock, where, you know, the police had this standoff. He - right now, FBI have blocked off that entire area of the neighborhood obviously. And they are currently right now checking his parents' home as we speak.

The - one of our reporters is out there trying to get us as much information as we can, but there is still not very much we can confirm about him. I know we have confirmed as well that there is no record of military service. But as of right now, we're still searching to learn a little bit more about who this man is. Early this morning, though, our governor was - Texas Governor Greg Abbott, he was giving an interview. And he did say that he cannot confirm, but given his level of information, they did find a large digital footprint that they believe will lead to who this person is more, what he was doing and why he was doing it.

GREENE: The why, I mean, must be so important. I mean, motive is the big thing that I'm sure a lot of people in this community want to know why he would do this, why he would target Austin and what led to this kind of violence.

HAMDAN: Yes. So that is why we're kind of working really hard to learn a little bit about Mark Anthony Conditt and understand, you know, what his motive might have been, given, you know, just how outrageous this whole situation has been. Of course, because we still - you know, it hasn't been a full 24 hours yet, so FBI and law enforcement, ATF, DPS, everyone is saying still be on alert here in Austin because they don't know if there might be a second person that was involved or if there are other packages out there. I know Governor Abbott says they have provided scanning devices still to the Austin Police Department to scan for packages to see if anything might potentially be a bomb. But yes, right now, the main thing is just trying to figure out what this man's motive was.

GREENE: So that sounds really important, though. I mean, they're suggesting, A, they're not a hundred percent sure there's not another person out there, and B, even if he was a lone wolf, there could be packages that he sent, you know, yesterday or at some point that could still be delivered. So this is, I mean, people in Austin should not feel totally safe yet.

HAMDAN: Right. So there is surveillance footage from the FedEx office in Sunset Valley, the one that may have helped law enforcement track this - track Conditt. If you look at those surveillance, you can see he's wearing a wig and a - not so great disguise, but a disguise nonetheless. And so that shows that he was indeed, you know, sending packages out. They've confirmed that it was linked to two packages being sent through different FedEx facilities. So they are concerned that there might still be packages being sent out. So as of right now, a sense of relief in Austin. But still, we are on alert and making sure that we want to close this up completely before we feel the full sense of relief.

GREENE: God, it's - Austin is known as such a laid-back, kind of quirky city, a place that a lot of people around the country just love to visit. I think everyone's been thinking of you as the community's been going through this.

HAMDAN: Thank you so much, we really appreciate that.

GREENE: All right. Nadia Hamdan is the MORNING EDITION host at member station KUT in Austin. Thanks a lot.

HAMDAN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Nadia Hamdan
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