Black residents in Austin on high alert after fourth bomb explosion injures two men

Crime scene
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Two more people have been seriously injured in Austin, Texas, after a trip wire reportedly detonated another bomb.

According to the DailyMail, the two victims were two men in their 20s.  

According to reports, the two men were either walking or riding their bikes down a sidewalk when a bomb was triggered around 8:32pm in southwest Austin on Sunday night.

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Thankfully the injuries are reportedly not life-threatening.

Austin police chief Brian Manley believes that the incidents are linked to the prior bombing attacks which cost the life of two African-Americans and injured two more. It is unclear if they still believe this may be racially motivated.

“It is very possible that this device was activated by someone either handling, kicking or coming in contact with a tripwire that activated the device,” said Chief Manly during a Monday morning press conference.

“We do not believe that this was, as previously, a package left on doorstep, but that this was some type of suspicious package that was left on the side of the road and that detonated and injured these two men,” he clarified.

“We are working under the belief that they are connected to the previous bombings.”

Travis County residents have been ordered to stay in their homes until 10am Monday morning. All school buses have been canceled.

According to the New York Times, investigators from the F.B.I. and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded to the neighborhood known as Travis Country, which is in a different area from the three previous explosions.

Investigators have reportedly found similarities between that device and three previous bombs, the police chief said.

“We are clearly dealing with what we expect to be a serial bomber at this point,” Manley said.

What we know

With the fourth bombing residents of color are concerned that they are being targeted, yet officials remain reluctant to call these attacks hate crimes.  

“We cannot rule out hate, but we’re not saying it’s hate,” Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said Thursday, according to CNN.

“This moment cannot be something that divides us,” said Travis County Democratic Party Chairman Vincent Harding. “This cannot be a white issue or black issue or an east issue or west issue. This must be a human issue, this must an Austin issue for all of us.”

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Anthony Stephan House was reportedly a family man and loving father to an eight-year-old daughter before his life was tragically cut short by a package bomb.

House was a 39-year-old senior project manager for Texas Quarries and by all accounts the Texas State University graduate had much to live for.

Esperanza Herrera, a 75-year-old Hispanic woman suffered potentially fatal injuries and was rushed to the hospital.

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Police identified Draylen Mason as the 17-year-old that was also killed in a second attack.

Draylen Mason is reportedly one of four victims so far in a string of attacks that involves bombs left outside of the homes of minority families.

According to The Daily Mail, Draylen Mason was an aspiring musician. His grandfather Norman Mason was a renowned dentist with strong community ties. Mason’s grandmother LaVonne Mason broke ground as the co-founder of the Austin chapter of the National Urban League.

The Violin Channel reports that Draylen Mason was an honor roll bass student at the East Austin College Prep, where he studied with William Bill Dick. Mason was also a member of the Interlochen Center for the Arts, the Austin Youth Orchestra and the Austin Soundwaves.

Mason’s mother was reportedly also injured in the blast.

NAACP responds

The President of the Austin Chapter of the NAACP, Nelson Linder spoke exclusively to theGrio and believes personal animosity may be responsible.

Dr. Freddie Dixon, the stepfather of the first victim, Anthony House, 39; and Dr. Norman Mason, the grandfather of the second victim, Draylen Mason, 19 are very good friends and prominent leaders in Austin’s Black community. Dixon was a minister at the Wesley United Methodist Church for more than 20 years, while Mason owns a dental practice in Austin.

“We think these deaths and bombs have been targeted,” Linder said. “The odds of Anthony being killed, his stepfather being Dr. Dixon, and knowing Draylen’s grandfather? That’s way too many coincidences. How the bombs have been made, how targeted they are, and how they’ve been delivered to peoples’ homes….this feels personal.”

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As the Black community’s leader in Austin, Linder not only knows both of the victims’ families, he also had a personal connection to House, whom he hired in 2008 to build and maintain his NAACP Chapter’s website. House, a project manager at Texas Quarries, was introduced to Linder by an Austin NAACP officer whose daughter had been dating House and is the mother of his 8-year old daughter.

“There’s a lot of pain and people are scared,” said Linder. “They don’t know the nature of what’s going on. But between the ATF, FBI and APD, we have the right folks investigating and they’re hard at work. They’re looking at the right things and connections now, and doing a full investigation. We just need to figure out who is doing this.”