A 24-year-old man suspected of a series of deadly bombings that have terrorised the Texan capital of Austin for almost a month has blown himself up as police closed in on him, as the FBI warned that other parcel bombs might have been planted.
The suspect, identified by a law enforcement official as Mark Anthony Conditt, killed himself in his car at the side of a road as authorities moved in to arrest him early on Wednesday, officials said.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley identified the suspect as a 24-year-old white man. He said a motive for the bombings is not yet known and it is unclear if the man was acting alone or with accomplices.
Click Here: geelong cats guernsey 2019
Mr Manley said the suspect is believed to be responsible for all five bomb explosions that have killed two and wounded several more and put people on edge in the Texan capital since March 2.
But FBI agent Chris Combs, head of the agency’s San Antonio office, said: "We are concerned that there may be other packages that are still out there."
After the suspects death was confirmed, US President Donald Trump tweeted that it had been a "great job by law enforcement and all concerned!".
AUSTIN BOMBING SUSPECT IS DEAD. Great job by law enforcement and all concerned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2018
"The suspect is deceased," Austin police chief Brian Manley told a news conference as he said the man’s name will not be released until his next of kin are notified.
Police had traced the suspect’s car to a hotel in the Austin suburb of Round Rock. As authorities waited for tactical teams to arrive, the man started to drive away.
When officers moved to stop and arrest him, the man detonated a bomb inside his car and was killed, Mr Manley said. One police officer was injured by the blast.
Mr Manley warned that it was not clear whether or not any more bombs had been left in place around the city.
Police had urged residents to treat packages with suspicion during the bombing campaign and Manley warned residents not to let their guard down yet.
"Everybody needs to remember that this investigation is continuing. We still need people to be vigilant," Austin Mayor Steve Adler said. "We don’t know where the suspect has been the last 24 hours."
Police had closed in on the suspect over the past 36 hours as evidence came in from video footage and witness accounts.
"It has been a long almost three weeks for the community of Austin," the police chief said.
A local TV station in San Antonio had published what it said were photos of the suspect, wearing a blue baseball cap, gloves and possibly a wig as he dropped off packages Sunday at a FedEx office. The photos came from security video at that office.
BREAKING: Exclusive photos of Austin bombing 'Person of Interest' dropping off 2 packages at Austin @FedEx store. Believed to be wearing wig.
Recognize him? Contact: @FBI @Austin_Police
More info: https://t.co/8bVRGToc7T @News4SA @cbsaustin pic.twitter.com/mpTxxrkYfd
— Randy Beamer (@randybeamer) March 21, 2018
One of the Austin bombs went off early Tuesday at a FedEx sorting facility.
Two people were killed and more injured by four package bombings in Austin that began on March 2.
The bombings began with parcels left on doorsteps, then continued with a bomb apparently set off by a tripwire on Sunday and two packages that detonated at FedEx Corp facilities on Tuesday.
Austin serial bombings timeline
Austin bombs had grown in sophistication
As the investigation proceeded, police said the bombs were growing in sophistication.
The first three were hand-delivered to the doorsteps of people’s houses. The fourth featured a trip wire and the fifth was sent into the FedEx delivery chain.
More than 1,200 calls came in from residents since police urged them to report suspicious activities after the first explosion.
In the end, police were offering a reward of $115,000 (£81,000) for information leading to an arrest.
‘No clear idea’ of bomber’s motive
Mr Manley said investigators still had no clear idea of what prompted the suspect to carry out the bombing.
"We do not understand what motivated him to do what he did," Manley said.
"We don’t know if he was on his way to deliver another bomb," Manley said. "He had one with him and that’s what he detonated as we approached."