Authorities increase reward offer to $100,000 for information leading to arrest of suspect in package bombings

Posted at 9:28 AM, Mar 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-18 16:22:29-04

The FBI, Austin Police Department and ATF Houston announced Sunday afternoon that they are increasing the award offer to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person(s) responsible for package bombs in Austin. 

Officials said the three package blasts that have terrorized Austin in the past 10 days are believed to be related. Two people have died in the explosions. 

According to the Washington Post, the stepfather of the man who died in the first bombing in early March is good friends with the grandfather of teen that died Monday. 

The stepfather, Freddie Dixon, told the Post that he did not know anyone who had a grudge against his stepson. Dixon also said that he and the grandfather, Norman Mason, were very involved in mentoring African American student Athletes at the University of Texas. 

Dixon said he did not know the third victim.

On Monday, a teenager was killed, and two women were injured in the blasts, according to ABC news. The 17-year-old was killed and a woman in her 40s was taken to the hospital in the first explosion on Monday, March 12. The second explosion happened hours later, sending a 75-year-old woman to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. 

ABC News said the first explosion was reported in the 4800 block of Oldfort Hill Dr around 6:45 a.m at a single-family home. 

Officials said the second package blast on Monday happened when the woman opened a package at her house on the 6700 block of Galindo St., initiating the explosion. Police said they received the call about the second explosion around 11:50 a.m.

Officials said the 75-year-old woman is in critical, but stable condition. 

On March 2, there was another package explosion that left a 39-year-old man dead. When the incident first happened, police believed it was an isolated accident. 

At this time, officials said they have not found a motive in the investigation. They also are concerned with all the tourists in the area due to South By South West musical festival.

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said if you receive a package that you are not expecting or looks suspicious, do not open it and call 911 immediately.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is urging all Texans to report any suspicious or unexpected packages by calling 911 immediately. For full information on how to handle suspicious packages, click here

"First and foremost, Cecilia and I offer our thoughts and prayers to the victims of these atrocious attacks," Governor Abbott said. "I want to assure all Texans, and especially those in Austin, that local, state and federal law enforcement officials are working diligently to find those responsible for these heinous crimes. As the investigation continues, the State of Texas will provide any resources necessary to ensure the safety of our citizens, and quickly bring those guilty to justice."

Governor Greg Abbott has also offered a $15,000 award for information leading to the arrest of the suspect or suspects involved in the deadly package blasts.

To be eligible for a cash reward of up to $15,000, tips must be submitted to Texas Crime Stoppers using one of the following methods:

  • Call the Texas Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477)
  • Text the letters "DPS"- followed by your tip – to 274637 (CRIMES)
  • Submit a web tip through the website
  • Submit a tip through the DPS Mobile App

Police said they are working to determine if a hate crime was involved because the victims in both cases were black. The third victim in the attack was hispanic.

The FBI is helping Austin police in the investigation.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said they were responding to the scene.

Copyright 2018 KXXV. All rights reserved.