A man who police say was the suspect in a series of deadly bombings in Austin, Texas, this month killed himself by setting off an explosion in his car, even as officers moved in on the vehicle to make an arrest, officials say.
According to NPR, police have only described the suspect as a 24-year-old white man, with Austin Police Chief Brian Manley saying that he is waiting for positive identification, as well as the notification of family.
“Beginning within the past 24-36 hours, we began to get information [on a] person of interest that moved to a suspect,” Manley told reporters. “Late last night and this morning, we felt very comfortable that he was the suspect.”
The man was tracked to a hotel in Round Rock, Texas, after a car he was known to be driving was found. Police and federal agents moved in on the hotel but were waiting for tactical backup—like armored vehicles—in order to take the suspected bomber into custody “as safely as possible.”
“While we were waiting for those vehicles to get here, much time had passed, and the vehicle started to drive away. We began following the vehicle, again waiting to get the tactical vehicles here so we could make a stop,” he added.
However, the suspect’s vehicle came to a stop in a ditch at the side of a busy road.
“As members of the Austin Police Department SWAT team approached the vehicle, the suspect detonated a bomb inside the vehicle, knocking one of our SWAT officers back. And one of our SWAT officers fired at the suspect, as well. The suspect is deceased and has significant injuries from a blast that occurred from detonating a bomb inside his vehicle,” Manley said.
However, the chief is warning residents to remain cautious, just in case the suspect was able to leave any final explosives.
“We don’t know where this subject has spent his last 24 hours,” the chief acknowledged.
The suspect was believed to have been behind several bombs that killed two people and wounded five others. Three bombs exploded throughout different locations in Austin, where packages had been left on the front steps of unsuspecting victims. One bomb was triggered by a trip wire that injured bicyclists as they cycled down a residential street. One bomb, believed to be destined for Austin, exploded in a Schertz, Texas, FedEx facility, injuring an employee.