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UPDATE: Austin Police: Bombing Suspect Left Taped ‘Confession’

A law enforcement official identified the suspect as Mark Anthony Conditt of Pflugerville

THE LATEST on the Austin bombings (all times local):

6:20 p.m.

Police have discovered a 25-minute recording on a cellphone found with bombing suspect Mark Conditt and Austin Police Chief Brian Manley says he considers it a “confession.”

Manley says at a news conference that Conditt talks on the recording in great detail about the differences among the bombs he built.

He says that the tape is “the outcry of a very challenged young man.”

Officials say the 23-year-old Conditt blew himself up in his vehicle overnight as authorities closed in on him.

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4:30 p.m.

An official with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says the agency is reasonably certain there are no other devices “out in the public,” but he urges caution.

ATF Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski made the comments at a Wednesday afternoon news conference. FBI agent Chris Combs echoed Milanowski’s sentiment, saying “we think we’re on top of this, but we just don’t know.”

On Twitter, Austin police asked the public to “remain vigilant.”

After bombing suspect Mark Conditt’s death early Wednesday, authorities expressed concern there may be other package bombs circulating in public.

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Friend: Suspect was assertive, “intimidating”

4:15 p.m.

A friend of the suspected Austin bomber says he was an assertive person who would end up being “dominant and intimidating in conversation.”

Jeremiah Jensen tells the Austin American-Statesman that he was close to Mark Anthony Conditt in 2012 and 2013. Jensen says they were both homeschooled in the same Pflugerville community and he would often go to the Conditt home for lunch after church on Sundays. He says they also attended Bible study and other activities together.

Jensen says, “I have no idea what caused him to make those bombs.”

He says Conditt came from a good family, was athletic and a “deep thinker.” He added that Conditt was “really rough around the edges” when they met.

Jensen says Conditt would “end up being kind of dominant and intimidating in conversation … He really just wanted to tell the truth. What I remember about him he would push back on you if you said something without thinking about it.”

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3:40 p.m.

Authorities say they’ve recovered homemade explosives from inside the home of the man responsible for planting a series of bombs around Austin.

The Austin Police Department and federal authorities said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that they were “working to safely remove and dispose of” the explosives at a home on Second Street in Pflugerville, just north of Austin.

That’s the home suspected serial bomber Mark Conditt shared with roommates.

Authorities evacuated four blocks around the home “in an abundance of caution.”

Police say Conditt built five bombs that exploded over three weeks, killing two people and severely wounding four others. He used one of his own devices to blow himself up overnight as a SWAT team closed in.

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COO: FedEx gave authorities key evidence

A top FedEx executive says the company provided key evidence that helped identify the suspect in the bombings around Austin.

Chief Operating Officer David Bronczek said in a note to employees that FedEx was able to give the information to law enforcement “because of our advanced security capabilities and the vigilance of our team members.”

Bronczek did not describe the information that FedEx provided, and company representatives declined to comment further. But Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee, said the suspect’s “fatal mistake” was mailing a package from a FedEx store because it gave authorities surveillance video that showed him and his vehicle, including the license plate number.

Officials say the suspect, 23-year-old Mark Conditt, blew himself up in his vehicle overnight as authorities closed in on him. He is suspected of sending the package that blew up on a conveyer belt in a FedEx facility in Schertz, Texas, and another parcel with an unexploded bomb that was discovered at a FedEx facility near the Austin airport.

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3:40 p.m.

Police were searching the Pflugerville home of an Austin bombing suspect who died early this morning as a SWAT team approached his vehicle in Round Rock.   

Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said the 23-year-old suspect detonated a bomb as officers surrounded his vehicle; an officer also fired at him. It was unclear whether he died from the blast or from gunfire. 

“The suspect is deceased and has significant injuries from a blast that occurred from detonating a bomb inside his vehicle,” Manley said.  

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3:35 p.m.

The chairman of the U.S. House Homeland Security committee says authorities seem to think the Austin bombing suspect had “above average intelligence.”

Republican Congressman Michael McCaul told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the suspect matched the FBI’s initial profile suspicion that the bomber was likely a white male. But he says a psychological profile probably won’t be known until investigators go through Mark Conditt’s writings and social media postings.

Authorities say Conditt blew himself up overnight in his vehicle in a hotel parking lot in another suburb as a SWAT team closed in on him.

McCaul says the suspect bought nails and other bomb-making equipment at a Home Depot but bought batteries for the devices on the Internet.

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3:20 p.m.

Bombing suspect Mark Conditt’s family says they are “devastated and broken” at the news of his involvement.

The Conditt family released a statement Wednesday afternoon expressing shock and grief, as well as offering their “prayers for those families who have lost loved ones … and for the soul of our Mark.”

Conditt’s uncle, Mike Courtney, tells The Associated Press he doesn’t “know that anybody saw this coming.” Courtney described his nephew as a smart, intelligent and kind “computer geek.”

The family’s statement says they had “no idea of the darkness that Mark must have been in.”

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1:55 p.m.

Authorities have detained two people who lived with bombing suspect Mark Conditt.

Austin police said Wednesday that one roommate was questioned and later released, while the second was still being held for questioning.

Authorities did not release the names of the roommates, explaining that they have not been placed under arrest.

Federal and state law enforcement agencies earlier Wednesday issued a news release saying a federal criminal complaint and arrest warrant were issued Tuesday night for Conditt on a charge of unlawful possession and transfer of a destructive device.

Officials say the 23-year-old Conditt blew himself up overnight in a suburban Austin parking lot as a SWAT team closed in on him. They say his motives remain unknown.

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1:30 p.m.

Authorities have publicly identified the dead Austin bombing suspect as 23-year-old Mark Conditt, of Pflugerville.

Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies issued a news release Wednesday saying a federal criminal complaint and arrest warrant were issued Tuesday night for Conditt on a charge of unlawful possession and transfer of a destructive device.

The agencies say the investigation remains open and the documents remain under seal. They also repeated their warning that members of the public should report anything that looks suspicious, as there may still be bombs that haven’t been found.

Authorities say Conditt blew himself up overnight in a suburban Austin parking lot as a SWAT team closed in on him. They say his motives remain unknown.

Conditt is suspected of having planted four bombs in Austin this month that killed two people and seriously injured four others.

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1 p.m.

A neighbor of the Austin bombing suspect’s parents says the couple homeschooled all four of their children.

Jeff Reeb said Wednesday that Mark Conditt’s parents educated Conditt and his three younger sisters at their home in the Austin suburb of Pflugerville. The sisters ares 21, 18 and 13.

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ATF sought bombing suspect’s arrest Tuesday

12:35 p.m.

Partially unsealed federal court documents show that agents from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms were ready to arrest Mark Anthony Conditt on Tuesday on a charge alleging he had received, possessed or transferred destructive devices.

A U.S. Magistrate Judge heard by phone Tuesday an ATF agent’s request to issue an arrest warrant for Conditt and signed the warrant electronically.

Many of the court documents remained sealed on Wednesday, including two orders from the magistrate and the cause for the warrant.

No other people are named in the criminal complaint cover sheet, which says Conditt is wanted for offenses between March 2, when the first bomb went off, and Tuesday, when the warrant was signed.

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Governor Abbott says cellphone data helped crack case

12:25 p.m.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says the cellphone number of the Austin bombing suspect was of interest to law enforcement before he was captured on surveillance video at a FedEx store.

Abbott told reporters Wednesday that authorities used cellphone traffic data to put the suspect at the site of the explosions around Austin. He says the suspect’s phone number drew the attention of investigators.

Police haven’t released the suspect’s name, but a law enforcement official who was briefed on the investigation identified him as Mark Anthony Conditt. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Abbott also said that among the items the suspect purchased at a Home Depot were five signs saying “CAUTION CHILDREN AT PLAY.” He says he was told a tripwire that injured two men on Sunday in southwest Austin was tied to one of the signs, which would be consistent with what authorities have previously said about how the explosive was rigged.

Police said earlier Wednesday that the suspect was 24 years old, but Conditt is listed as 23 years old on his driver’s license and other official documents.

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Lawmaker says going to FedEx store cracked case

11:50 a.m.

A Republican congressman from Texas says the Austin bombing suspect bought a lot of his bomb-making equipment from a Home Depot store in his hometown.

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, a Republican from Austin who is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told KXAN-TV that authorities retraced the suspect’s steps after he was caught on surveillance video at an Austin-area FedEx store. McCaul says investigators obtained the suspect’s license plate number and were able to identify him, then track what he purchased at a Home Depot.

Authorities have not released the suspect’s name, but a law enforcement official who was briefed on the investigation identified him as Mark Anthony Conditt.

Authorities say Conditt blew himself up overnight as a SWAT team approached his SUV in a motel parking lot outside of Austin.

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Bombing suspect’s SUV hauled away by police

The SUV where the Austin bombing suspect blew himself up has been hauled away.

Crews loaded the red vehicle and two large white vans that apparently forced the SUV off the road onto flat-bed trucks which then drove away.

Bomb squads subsequently began checking the ground under where the vehicles had been parked.

Authorities say the 24-year-old suspect blew himself up as a SWAT team approached his SUV, which had been parked in a motel parking lot in the Austin suburb of Round Rock.

Investigators believe he made all four of the bombs that were planted around Austin this month and that killed two people and injured four others.

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Police clear area near bombing suspect’s home

Pflugerville police have begun evacuating the area around the home of the Austin bombings suspect and federal authorities are preparing to deploy an anti-explosives robot.

Pflugerville police Cmdr. Keith Ritchie says the FBI told local police to evacuate the area late Wednesday morning. Reporters waiting nearby are being pushed back and neighbors are being evacuated from their homes.

Ritchie says the order came after investigators searched the suspect’s home and surrounding area.

He says he doesn’t know what prompted the order.

An ATF vehicle could be seen arriving and officials were unloading an anti-blast robot.

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Neighbor says bombing suspect seemed ‘smart’

10:35 a.m.

A neighbor who watched the Austin bombing suspect grow up says he “always seemed like he was smart” and “polite.”

Jeff Reeb said Wednesday that he’s lived next to the parents of Mark Anthony Conditt for about 17 years and that they are good neighbors.

Reeb says Mark Conditt and his grandson played together into middle school and that Conditt still visits his parents regularly.

The parents live a few miles from the Pflugerville home where Mark Conditt lived with roommates. Reeb says Conditt was in the process of gutting the house and remodeling it, which meant a lot of hammers and nails around frequently.

He says police had an unmarked car parked near Conditt’s parents’ house overnight into Wednesday. He says Condit’s father, whom he called Pat, worked as an Amway distributor and also bought electronics on the side to resell.

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Bombing suspect didn’t finish community college

10:25 a.m.

Austin Community College spokeswoman Jessica Vess said in an email Wednesday that the suspected Austin bomber was a student there from 2010 to 2012 but didn’t graduate. Vess said Mark Anthony Conditt hadn’t attended the school since that time. She said the school is working with Austin police to provide any information they need.

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10:20 a.m.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says that at this point, investigators believe the Austin bombing suspect acted alone.

Abbott told Austin’s KXAN-TV on Wednesday that “everything that we have right now shows he acted alone,” but he cautioned that the investigation is ongoing.

Abbott says the suspect had no known military experience or criminal record.

He also says it is unclear if the bombs were made at the suspect’s house or perhaps at the motel where he was arrested.

Abbott says investigators were watching the suspect for 24 hours, that his cell phone pinged in several different locations and that a key break in the case came when witnesses saw him at several stores wearing a blonde wig that looked odd to others.

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9:50 a.m.

The Austin bombing suspect doesn’t appear to have left much of a trail on social media, but in 2012 posts on what appears to be his personal blog he expressed opinions about a range of topics, including gay marriage.

A law enforcement official identified the suspect as Mark Anthony Conditt of Pflugerville. The official, who has been briefed on the investigation, spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the case publicly.

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A suspect in the string of bombings in Austin this month is dead. Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley says the suspect detonated a bomb as officers surrounded him in his vehicle in Round Rock. 

“The suspect is deceased and has significant injuries from a blast that occurred from detonating a bomb inside his vehicle,” Manley said.

Manley said the suspect was a white male. A law enforcement source told KUT his name was Mark Anthony Conditt. The 23-year-old lived in Pflugerville. He had no record of military service, as some had speculated. 

Officials believe he was responsible for all the bombing incidents since March 2, but are unsure of a motive.  

“We still need to remain vigilant to ensure that no other packages or devices have been left through the community,” Manley said.

Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley says a suspect in the Austin bombings detonated an explosive in his vehicle in Round Rock this morning.

Manley said surveillance teams located a vehicle linked to the suspect parked at a hotel in Round Rock. As they waited for a tactical unit to arrive, the vehicle drove away. Law enforcement pursued the suspect, who stopped in a ditch along the I-35 Frontage Road. As the APD SWAT team approached, Manley said, the suspect detonated a bomb. An officer also shot at him.

“We can recognize that this is really good news. … There’s no doubt in law enforcement that this is the responsible guy,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler told KUT. “[But] it’s absolutely true the investigation is continuing. We don’t know where he’s been the last 24 hours, and there are other outstanding questions. So, we’re asking the community to continue to stay vigilant.”

On Fox News this morning, Gov. Greg Abbott praised federal, state and local law enforcement officials for the “quintessential example of a team effort to get to bottom of this as quickly as possible, to save as many lives as possible.”

He referred to the suspect as the “mastermind” in the bombings and said he had been on law enforcement’s radar for a couple days.  

“I think there is a treasure trove of … digital information [in his house] that should shed light more upon who he is, what he was doing and why he was doing it,” he told Fox.

Law enforcement officials enter the Pflugerville home of Danene and William Patrick Conditt, the parents of Mark Anthony Conditt. Mark Anthony Conditt, a suspect in the Austin serial bombings, died as police surrounded his car.

Conditt attended Austin Community College from 2010-2012, but did not graduate. Next-door neighbor Jeff Reeb didn’t say there was anything unusual about him.

“He was a young kid that grew into an older kid, who left his parents’ house and went on, as I understood, and bought his own house and stuff – just like anyone else would,” he said.

President Trump tweeted about the news this morning:

Five explosions have taken place across the city and in the San Antonio suburb of Schertz since March 2, killing 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House and 17-year-old Draylen Mason and injuring four others.

On Tuesday, two package bombs were found at FedEx facilities – one in Schertz and another on McKinney Falls Parkway by the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The first package exploded on a conveyor; the second was defused by authorities. Authorities linked the packages to a FedEx Office in Sunset Valley.

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