A device that exploded early Tuesday at a FedEx ground distribution facility in Texas, injuring one person, is likely linked to a string of bombings that have rocked the state’s capital this month, federal officials said.
Schertz Police Lt. Manny Casas told Fox San Antonio a medium-sized box was on the conveyor belt when the explosion occurred. Casas said a woman was treated for a “possible sound injury” and was released. He said the blast happened shortly after midnight.
Schertz police couldn’t immediately confirm what was in the package, but law enforcement officials told KSAT the medium-sized package contained metal shrapnel and nails and was headed to Austin when it exploded on a conveyor track.
The blast drew a large response from state, local and federal law enforcement agencies. Federal agents told the Associated Press the package is likely linked to attacks in Austin.
The ATF’s Houston office said it responded to the scene in Schertz. Schertz is located 22 miles east of San Antonio and 73 miles south of Austin.
The blast comes a day after authorities in Austin said a “serial bomber” is likely responsible for four explosions in Austin this month, the latest of which injured two people Sunday night after they crossed a trip wire possibly made with fishing line.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said at a news conference Monday that although the Sunday night bomb was linked to the three previous blasts, the latest bomb showed more sophistication as opposed to the previous three incidents, which involved package bombs left on people’s doorsteps.
“We’ve seen a change in the method this suspect is using,” he told reporters.
Frederick Milanowski, the special agent in charge for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said trip wire devices, possibly using fishing line, are triggered by victims applying any kind of pressure or tension.
“We are more concerned now. That is, people see something suspicious they stay away and contact law enforcement,” he said.
The men injured Sunday night in the explosion in the southwestern Austin neighborhood of Travis Country, ages 22 and 23, are white, unlike the victims in the three earlier attacks, who were black or Hispanic.
A family member of one of the latest bombing victims in Austin told the AP on Monday the blast left what appeared to be nails stuck below his grandson’s knees.
While authorities have not yet identified the victims of Sunday’s explosion, William Grote said his grandson was one of the two people hurt in the blast.
“Well he and his friend were riding a bicycle about a block from their house and one of them was off the curb right in the street. The other one was on the sidewalk walking and it was so dark they couldn’t tell and they tripped and set off this explosion, didn’t see it,” he told the AP. “It was a wire and it blew up “
Grote said the blast knocked “them both off their feet” and left them “bleeding profusely.”
“You don’t know what to think,” he told the AP. “When something like this is happening. It’s just uncalled for.”
Sunday’s explosion was the fourth to rock Austin in less than three weeks. However, the three previous blasts occurred on the east side of the city.
The first was a package bomb that exploded at a northeast Austin home on March 2, killing 39-year-old Anthony Stephen House. Two more package bombs then exploded farther south on March 12, killing 17-year-old Draylen Mason, wounding his mother and injuring a 75-year-old woman.
As of Monday, the reward for information leading to an arrest in the deadly explosions had risen to $115,000. Manley said more than 500 officers, including federal agents, have conducted 236 interviews in following up 435 leads.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.