New blast sends bombing investigators to Texas FedEx center
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Investigators pursuing a suspected serial bomber in the Texas capital shifted their attention Tuesday to a FedEx shipping center near San Antonio where a package exploded on a conveyor belt in the middle of the night and caused minor injuries to a worker.
Although the latest blast did not inflict serious harm, it added to the widening fear of more strikes like those that have already killed two people and badly wounded four others.
Hours after the explosion, police sent a bomb squad to a FedEx facility outside Austin’s main airport to check on a suspicious package that was reported shortly before sunrise.
Investigators also closed off an Austin-area FedEx store where they believe the bomb that exploded was shipped to the distribution center. Authorities roped off a large area around the shopping center in the enclave of Sunset Valley.
The explosion happened around 1 a.m. at a FedEx facility in Schertz, which is just northeast of San Antonio and about 60 miles (95 kilometers) southwest of Austin.
“It would be silly for us not to admit that we suspect it’s related” to the other four Austin bombings since March 2, FBI agent Michelle Lee said. She did not have details about the size, weight or description of the package.
One worker reported ringing in her ears. She was treated at the scene.
Before it exploded, the package had been sent from Austin and was addressed to a home in Austin, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said.
In a statement, FedEx officials said the same person responsible for sending the package also shipped a second parcel that has been secured and turned over to law enforcement.
A company spokeswoman refused to say if that second package might have been linked to the one reported near the airport. There was no immediate word about whether that package contained explosives.
The blast came less than two days after another bombing wounded two men Sunday night in a quiet Austin neighborhood. It was triggered by a nearly invisible tripwire, suggesting a “higher level of sophistication” than agents saw in three package bombs left on doorsteps, according to Fred Milanowski, the agent in charge of the Houston division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.