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Package with nails and shrapnel explodes at FEDEX site in San Antonio

Issued: 2018-03-20

By Hannah Parry For

Published: 01:07 EDT, 20 March 2018 | Updated: 06:01 EDT, 20 March 2018


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A package 'containing nails and shrapnel' has exploded inside a FedEx facility in a suburb of  San Antonio, Texas.

At least one member of staff has reportedly been injured in the explosion, which took place at a distribution center in Schertz, northeast of the city.

The package was reportedly destined for Austin, according to a tweet by San Antonio Fire Department.

The department posted several details on their Twitter account, but added the caveat that 'this is what we have gathered unofficially'.

'The package was said to have contained nails and shrapnel. Of the 75 people working at the facility, only one complained of injury described as a non life threatening percussion type injury.'

This comes after Donald Trump was criticized for his silence over the Austin bombings targeting people of color.

Four families have been targeted by the 'serial bomber' in recent weeks which have left two dead and four injured in the Texas city.

Yet some people have pointed out that unlike other attacks, such as the Pulse nightclub shooting, which Trump was quick to label it an act of terrorism, the president has remained strangely quiet about the recent attacks where most of the victims have come from Austin's historically black and Latino neighborhoods.

The NAACP_Loudoun tweeted: 'Can you imagine bombings occurring in McClean, Georgetown, Loudoun or Tyson's killing and injuring white people and any suspicion of it being a person of color or Muslim.

Donald Trump has come under fire for his silence over the Austin bombings targeting people of color

Previous victims: Anthony Stephan House, 39, (left) died on March 2 and Draylen Mason, 17, (right) died on March 12 when package bombs were left at their respective homes

'The National Media, namely Fox News, and the Tweeter in Chief would be apoplectic.'

Film producer Adam Best demanded to know whether the attacks were being ignored 'because the victims have been people of color so far?'

'Why hasn't Donald Trump tweeted or made a statement? This is the 4th bombing in Austin, a metro area of 2M people.

'Because it's a progressive city? Because he's too busy covering his own ass? Austin needs national support!'

Jamil Smith added: 'Terrorism is what is happening in Austin, Texas right now. Given the race of the victims thus far and his own willful ignorance of extremist violence, I don't really care if @POTUS says anything. I just hope he doesn't impede matters, as he is wont to do.'

The latest blast occurred at around 8.30pm on Sunday in a southwestern Austin residential neighborhood known as Travis Country.

The explosion seriously injured two white men, aged 22 and 23, when they are believed to have triggered a tripwire when they were pushing or riding their bikes down a sidewalk. It forced police to warn nearby residents to remain indoors overnight as investigators looked for links to three other package bombings in the city this month.

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said in a Monday morning press conference they are dealing with a 'serial bomber' and that the latest attack showed a 'higher level of skill' than the three previous bombings.

Police also said they have still been unable to determine a motive for the string of bombings which have killed two people in Austin and put the city of nearly one million on edge.

'We're clearly dealing with what we expect to be a serial bomber at this point based on the similarities between now what is the fourth device,' the police chief said.

'(But) what we have seen now is a significant change from what appeared to be three very targeted attacks to what was last night an attack that would have hit a random victim that happened to walk by.'

'So we've definitely seen a change in the method that this suspect or suspects are using.'

In the earlier bombings, two African-American men were killed by packages left on their doorsteps, raising the possibility of a hate crime. A 75-year-old Hispanic woman was also injured in a blast.

In the past, Trump has been quick to label certain incidents as 'terror attacks' while others have remained tragedies.

In October last year, when someone ran down people with a van in New York, leaving eight dead and 11 injured, Trump sent his 'thoughts, condolences and prayers to the victims and families of the New York City terrorist attack' after the Uzbekistan immigrant suspect was found with an ISIS letter in his vehicle.

FBI investigators inspect the site of the fourth bombing in Austin on Monday morning. Police had warned residents to remain indoors overnight as they looked for possible links to other package bombings elsewhere in the city this month

ATF agents deploy at the scene in Austin with bomb sniffing dogs. Police have established a wide cordon and urged residents to remain indoors until receiving an all-clear from cops

Manley said the latest attack, which injured the two white males, appeared 'random' and was triggered by a tripwire.

He added that it was an escalation from the package bombs that had targeted the previous victims.

'A trip wire doesn't necessarily suggest a military background,' Manley said.

'But it suggests that the suspect or suspects we are dealing with have a higher level of sophistication than we believed, as they're changing their methods to a more difficult device.'

Friday, March 2: Anthony Stephan House, 39, is killed when a package blows up at 6.55am at his home on the 1100 block of Haverford Drive.

6.44am on March 12: Draylen Mason, 17, is killed and a woman is seriously injured in a package explosion in the kitchen of a home on the 4800 block of Oldfort Hill Drive.

11.50am on March 12: Esperanza Herrera, 75, is severely injured in a package explosion while visiting her mother's home on the 6700 block of Galindo Street.

March 18: Two men in their 20s are seriously injured by an explosion at a home on the 4800 block of Dawn Song Drive. Police haven't said whether a package bomb was involved.

Residents in the Travis Country area were ordered to stay in their homes until Monday morning and no school buses were going to drive through the area to pick up children.

Manley said authorities would keep the surrounding area blocked off until further notice because of overnight darkness and the 'size of the area that we want to go in and check.'

Police kept residential streets on lockdown, gradually expanding their barricades and closing off all roads into the neighborhood.

Before daybreak on Monday, Austin police pushed another alert to cellphones advising residents to continue staying indoors and to call 911 if they needed to leave their homes in the morning.

Manley also said authorities had worked to 'clear' a suspicious backpack found in the area that was part of a separate report.

'We want to put out the message that we've been putting out and that is, not only do not touch any packages or anything that looks like a package, do not even go near it at this time,' Manley said.


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