Austin bomber blows himself up on highway

The side of a highway north of Austin where the Texas bombing suspect blew himself up.
The side of a highway north of Austin where the Texas bombing suspect blew himself up. Photo credit: Reuters

An unemployed 23-year-old man suspected of a three-week bombing campaign in Texas that killed two people and injured five others has blown himself up on the side of a highway.

The suspect was identified as Mark Anthony Conditt of Pflugerville, Texas, according to the local CBS television station.

Scores of authorities have descended on the house where public records showed Conditt lived.

On Wednesday afternoon police ordered residents living within five blocks of the structure to evacuate as they continued to search the house.

A series of bombings beginning on March 2 left the city of Austin on edge as the bomber moved from parcels left on doorsteps to one activated by a trip wire, to at least two sent via FedEx.

Police eventually tracked him to a hotel about 32 km north of Austin and were following his vehicle when he pulled to the side of the road and detonated a device, killing himself, Austin police chief Brian Manley said.

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

"We've known for a couple of days who the suspect likely was," Texas Governor Greg Abbott told Fox News.

"Law enforcement is at his house in Pflugerville where we are learning whether or not that was the location he was making his bombs."

The governor added that the suspect is believed to have lived with two roommates, who are not currently considered suspects.

Public records showed that Conditt lived with his parents, William and Danene Conditt, until 2017, when he moved into a house nearby.

Manley said the suspect was believed to be responsible for six bombs around Austin and in Schertz, near San Antonio, all but one of which detonated.

He said the motivation for the bombings or whether the suspect had help was not yet known.

Manley warned residents to be cautious since it was not clear whether any more bombs had been left around the city.