AILSA CHANG, HOST:
In Austin, Texas, tonight, there has been another report of an explosion. Police and paramedics are on the scene near a Goodwill store. It’s unclear if this incident is related to four other explosions that have shaken this city this month. We’re going to go now to Mose Buchele of member station KUT, who’s following the situation. Hi, Mose.
MOSE BUCHELE, BYLINE: Hey.
CHANG: So what do we know about this latest incident?
BUCHELE: Well, not much yet. Like you said, what we do know is that there was an explosion reported maybe about an hour ago in the southwest side of town near a Goodwill. Officials are saying that there was one injury reported – a man in his 30s who was transported to a hospital with injuries that don’t appear to be life-threatening.
BUCHELE: Of course it’s not totally clear whether this is linked to all the other bomb attacks that have taken place in the city this month, but it comes as the city is in this kind of heightened state of alert. There have been four bombs that have exploded in Austin this month. Two people have died. Four others were injured. And just, you know, it seems like this is a fifth explosion here.
CHANG: Today law enforcement appeared to catch at least some breaks in their investigation, right? Can you explain what happened earlier today?
BUCHELE: Yeah, so just after midnight at a FedEx sorting facility about an hour outside of town, a package exploded on a conveyor belt, and police were later able to link that to the other explosions that we’ve had in Austin. And then at a different FedEx facility, this one closer to the city, they found another package that turned out to have a bomb inside of it that hadn’t exploded. And so law enforcement have been able to learn that the same person sent both of these packages from a FedEx facility within Austin.
CHANG: And do they know whether those two packages related to the other bombs that have detonated the past four weeks?
BUCHELE: They appear – yes, they appear to all be related.
CHANG: What have been the similarities in each of these cases?
BUCHELE: That’s really the strange this about this. And, I mean, this would cause anxiety in any circumstance. But this is especially tricky to wrap your head around because almost all of these have been different. The first three appear to be just left on people’s doorsteps probably by the bomber. They weren’t dropped – probably weren’t dropped off by, you know, official deliverers, mail people. Then the fourth instance on Sunday – it was an explosion on the side of a road. It was essentially a booby trap with a bomb with a trip wire attached to it. Two young men hit the trip wire. The bomb exploded, and they were both hospitalized with injuries.
The fifth instance was this thing this morning at the FedEx facility outside of town. That exploded on the conveyor belt. So obviously now these bombs are being sent out through FedEx. Now this appears to be the sixth. Although, again – of course, again, that hasn’t been officially confirmed. But it looks like it’s happened at a business, at a Goodwill and – again, in the southwestern part of town.
CHANG: So some of the bombs appear to be sort of targeted. Others have been more randomized in terms of…
BUCHELE: They – yeah, and they – yes, yeah. And, I mean, of course there’s a lot that’s not known yet about what – where these things were sent through FedEx. But it almost seems like they’ve become more random.
CHANG: Do we have any information in why these attacks are happening, and clue about motive?
BUCHELE: Not really. I mean, there were a lot of ideas floated around initially, and it was – there was – there had been – some people still suspect that it was kind of hate-related, people targeted because of their race. But, you know, as we’ve said, now it seems like it’s becoming more and more random and striking just different parts of town all over the city.
CHANG: And in talking to people over the course of all these attacks, what kinds of things are you hearing from them? How are people carrying on right now?
BUCHELE: I was walking around town today, interviewing people. And I have to say, people are pretty scared, you know? People are taking this very seriously. This is not a city that’s used to this kind of thing, and people are taking it very, very seriously.
CHANG: Mose Buchele is a reporter from member station KUT in Austin. Thank you very much.
BUCHELE: Thank you.
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