- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The person suspected of being the Austin serial bomber killed himself Wednesday morning after detonating a bomb as police were closing in, Austin police confirmed.

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said police had tracked the suspect’s vehicle to a nearby hotel and were waiting for ballistic and tactical vehicles to arrive. While they were waiting, the suspect got into his vehicle and began to drive. His car went into a ditch on the side of the road near Interstate 35.

Police swarmed the suspect’s car and he detonated a bomb inside the vehicle, blowing back a SWAT officer who suffered minor injuries, Chief Manley said at an early morning press conference in Round Rock, Texas, as he was flanked by ATF and FBI officials. Another officer then fired his weapon at the car.

The chief confirmed the “suspect is deceased with significant injuries,” but would not release the suspect’s name until the next-of-kin was notified.

The Associated Press reported that a law enforcement official said the dead suspect was Mark Anthony Conditt.

Police said the suspect was a 24-year-old white male and they don’t have a motive. They also said they don’t know if he was working alone.

SEE ALSO: Mark Anthony Conditt identified as Austin bomber by the Associated Press

Chief Manley said the community must remain vigilant.

“We do not know where he has been in the last 24 hours,” he said. “If you see something that has you concerned, call 911.”

Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who attended the early morning press conference, also reiterated the need for the community to be vigilant.

Two days ago, the mayor tweeted: “Austin, we’re going to get through this together. There’s a small law enforcement army here. We’ll find who is doing this and stop it. See anything suspicious? Call 911. Tips? Call 512-472-8477.”

The bombings, which have caused fatalities, have terrorized Texas residents for the last few weeks.

Austin has been targeted by four package bombings since March 2 that killed two people and wounded four others, the AP reported, adding that a fifth parcel bomb was detonated at a FedEx distribution center near San Antonio early Tuesday.

SEE ALSO: Greg Abbott: Austin area needs to remain ‘vigilant’ even after suspected bomber kills self

Police said the investigation is continuing.

President Trump tweeted Wednesday “AUSTIN BOMBING SUSPECT IS DEAD. Great job by law enforcement and all concerned!”

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump said the person who did the bombings “is obviously a very sick individual or individuals.”

Tony Plohetski, an investigative reporter at the Austin American-Stateman and KVUE-TV, tweeted, “Nelson Linder, president of the Austin NAACP, says community feeling sense of relief this morning.”

• Maria Stainer can be reached at mstainer@washingtontimes.com.

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