UPDATE: Austin Fire officials say a second house explosion today was caused by a package bomb, meaning it is likely that this explosion, in southeast Austin, is related to two similar cases, including one this morning that killed a teenaged boy, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The latest explosion, on Galindo Street, happened about 11 this morning. One woman suffered potentially life threatening injuries.
Austin police say they are not ruling out a 'hate crime' in the deadly explosion of a home this morning that was caused by a package that had been left on the front step, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"Two people were injured in this explosion," Acting Police Chief Brian Manley said. "Of those persons has died of their injuries, believed to be a 17 year old male. The other was an adult female who was transported to a local hospital with what we believe to be non life threatening injuries."
Manley says one of the residents of the home discovered the package on the front step shortly before 7AM today, and when the teenager opened the package it exploded. Manley says this is very similar to a package bomb that caused an explosion at a home not far away from the scene of today's blast earlier this month which killed a 39 year old man.
"The incident is very similar to the incident that occurred on March 2," Manley said. "That incident also occurred in the early morning hours, when the victim found a package on his front step and it exploded, causing that individual's death."
He says both of the deaths are now being classified as homicides.
"We are looking at these incidents as being related based on evidence we have seen. There are similarities that we cannot rule out that these two incidents are related."
Police are urging residents who find any suspicious packages on the front porch to call 9-1-1 to check them out. Many referred to the packages as 'I-E-D's,' or 'Improvised Explosive Devices,' a term used to refer to the bombs placed by terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan to harm U.S. troops.
"We do know that both of the homes that were recipients of these packages belong to African Americans, so we can't rule out that a hate crime is at the core of this," Manley said, adding that he has no evidence to back that up and the motive remains unknown.
The F.B.I., the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and other agencies are on the scene. He says Postal Inspectors have confirmed that neither of the packages were delivered by the U.S. Mail.
He says he is aware of what type of explosive device was used in the package.
"I want the public to be aware and be cautious," he said. "We have two cases that have both resulted in a loss of life. It is appropriate for residents to be concerned, if you receive a package that you were not expecting or is not from somebody you know, to call 9-1-1." When asked if he would describe the case as 'terrorism,'
Manley said 'there is no immediate indication from what we have on the scene. "That's why we will look at now, is there any type of ideology behind these offenses."
Photo Courtesy: Spectrum News