In the three package bombings that took place during the 10 -day period in Austin, police are now investigating a motive in the incidents. The Washington Post reports that as more information becomes readily available the mystery surrounding the event widens.
Of the three people killed in the blasts, 17-year-old Draylen Mason and 39-year-old Anthony Stephan were both African-American. The two had family that were good friends. 75-year-old Esperanza Herrera is the victim of the third attack but no connection to the other two. She reportedly was visiting her mother at the time, when she picked up a package addressed to another house. Many are suggesting that the incidents are targeted at people of color, prompting police to be open to investigating them as hate crimes.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley spoke about the possibility of the incidents being hate crimes. “We are just not going to ignore that fact that the three victims that were targeted … were all people of color,” Manley stated on Tuesday according to CNN.
“We cannot ignore that. That is something we have to pay attention to. That does not indicate that it’s a hate crime. But we’re not going to rule that out because we don’t want to limit anything that we’re considering.”
All three packages left on the outside of the homes were not expected. The police have stated that the US Postal Service nor any other delivery service was used for the dropoffs. It is believed they were left overnight.
Due to the nature of this case, investigators have been extensively researching the background of each victim. They are also poring over the construction of the bombs. Manley stated that the explosive devices used took “a certain level of skill and sophistication.” They are using the consistency in each bombing as evidence to track down the suspect.
Since the incidents, there have been 265 calls about suspicious packages. Police are warning people of Austin to be cautious when going near packages left at their homes while the investigation is taking place.