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Thursday September 20th, 2018 4:37PM

The Latest: Governor offers $15K reward for mail bomb info

By The Associated Press
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Latest on deadly package bombings in Austin, Texas (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

The Texas governor's office is offering a reward of up to $15,000 for information leading to the arrest of those involved in the deadly package blasts in Austin over the past 10 days.

In a statement, Gov. Greg Abbott said he's been briefed by the Texas Department of Public Safety on the three blasts that have killed two people and injured two others. He also says he's offered the Austin Police Department whatever assistance it needs in its investigation.

To be eligible for the reward, tips must be submitted to Texas Crime Stoppers by telephone to 1-800-252-TIPS (8477), by texting "DPS" and the tip to 274637 (CRIMES), by using the Texas Crime Stoppers website (https://gov.texas.gov/organization/crime-stoppers ), or by using the DPS mobile app.

Abbott says he wants to assure Texans, especially those in the Austin area, "that local, state and federal law enforcement officials are working diligently to find those responsible for these heinous crimes."

___

4:15 p.m.

Organizers of the South By Southwest festival are urging those visiting Austin, "if you see something, say something," after three package bombings killed two people and injured two others in less than two weeks.

In a tweet Monday, organizers said, "SXSW is heartbroken by the explosions in Austin" and asked the thousands of festival attendees to notify the authorities of anything suspicious.

An explosion at a home in east Austin early Monday killed a teenager and wounded a woman in her 40s. Another package exploded about five miles away hours later, injuring a 75-year-old woman.

The blasts occurred far from the heart of South By Southwest, which happens mostly in downtown Austin. Police said festivalgoers weren't at risk but should be aware of what's happening.

___

3 p.m.

Austin's police chief says package bombs caused both explosions in Texas' capital city on Monday, making it three this month.

Police Chief Brian Manley said at a news conference that the latest bombing injured a 75-year-old Hispanic woman.

Manley says investigators believe that attack and one earlier Monday that killed a 17-year-old boy and injured a woman in her 40s are linked to a March 2 package bombing that killed a 39-year-old man in another neighborhood.

The chief said earlier that investigators were considering whether the attacks could be race-related because the first three victims were all black. He says they aren't ruling anything out, but they are no longer "making the connection to a hate crime."

___

2:35 p.m.

Neighbors say they are shocked by a second explosion at an Austin home on Monday.

Authorities haven't said whether the blast was caused by a package bomb, but they say it injured a woman in her 70s.

The explosion happened hours after a package bombing a few miles away that killed a teenager and seriously injured a woman. Police have linked that deadly attack to a March 2 package bombing that killed a 39-year-old man in another neighborhood.

Fifteen-year-old Isaiah Guerrero, who lives on the street behind where the most recent blast occurred, says the explosion shook him and his house. He says, "You don't hear that stuff in my neighborhood."

Virginia Ybarra, who lives on the block where the blast happened, says the women who lives in the house is quiet and kind, and sometimes asks for grapefruits from her tree.

___

12:30 p.m.

Police are responding to another explosion in Austin that badly injured a woman, hours after a package bomb killed a teenager and wounded a woman in a different part of the city.

Austin-Travis County EMS tweeted that an explosion Monday in southeast Austin injured a woman in her 70s, who has been hospitalized. A second woman from that address has been hospitalized with an unrelated medical issue.

Authorities have not said whether the most recent explosion was caused by a package bomb like the one that exploded earlier Monday.

Police Chief Brian Manley said at a news conference Monday that investigators believe the deadly blast Monday is linked to a March 2 package bomb that killed a 39-year-old man in another part of the city.

___

11:35 a.m.

Police say their investigation of deadly package bombings at two Austin homes will try to determine if a hate crime was involved because the victims in both cases were black.

Police Chief Brian Manley said Monday that investigators hope to collect surveillance video from nearby homes to identify a suspect.

He says there's currently no other evidence indicating a hate crime beyond the victims' race.

He says the package that exploded Monday and the one that detonated on March 2 had been left on the front doorsteps and were not delivered by a mail service.

A 17-year-old boy was killed in Monday's explosion and a woman injured. Authorities said earlier that the woman's injuries were life-threatening, but Manley says she'll survive.

A 39-year-old man was killed in the March 2 attack.

___

11 a.m.

Authorities say a package that exploded inside of an Austin home, killing a teenager and wounding a woman, is linked to a deadly package sent to another home in Texas' capital city earlier this month because they were both left on the front doorstep and not delivered by a mail service.

Austin police Chief Brian Manley said at a news conference Monday that the U.S. Postal Service does not have a record of delivering a package to the Austin home where the explosion occurred Monday.

He says that package was brought into the kitchen where it detonated, killing a 17-year-old boy and injuring the woman.

The FBI is helping Austin police in the investigation.

___

9:30 a.m.

A teenager has died and a woman is seriously injured after a package exploded at a home in Austin, marking the second such explosion this month at a home in Texas' capital city.

The package detonated early Monday. Police say the teen died at the scene, while the woman was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. Police say the woman is in her 40s, but they haven't released any other information.

Authorities are investigating whether the explosion is linked to a similar blast on March 2 that killed a 39-year-old man. Both explosions occurred in the early-morning hours.

Police are investigating that incident as a suspicious death. Investigators haven't released information about the device or possible suspects.

The FBI is helping Austin police in the investigation.

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