AUSTIN, TX — Law enforcement officials staged a press conference on Monday ostensibly designed to provide more details into the serial bombings that terrorized the Austin residents in March. While short on details, the document outlined some key dates of the terror campaign and concurrent investigation.
Mark Anthony Conditt, 23, blew himself up on March 21 in Round Rock after being identified as the person behind the bombings. An early-morning standoff led to Conditt inadvertently driving into a ditch as he tried to escape capture, detonating himself with one of the same parcel bombs with which he spread death and violence in an 18-day terror campaign that killed two and injured others.
Some had expected police to release an audio confession they say Conditt left behind, or maybe the dashcam footage of his deadly last stand after which he detonated a bomb on himself. But officials suggested the footage won’t be released anytime soon, possibly never. The confession might inspire similar actions from copycats, and FBI agent said, explaining why it may never be released publicly. The footage of Conditt’s take-down by police is part of an ongoing investigation, Austin Police Department Interim Chief Brian Manley said in justifying its not being released to the public.
Somewhat anemic in terms of new details, the partially redacted affidavit did yield a more definitive timeline into the course of events that threw an entire city into panic throughout the month of March. The grim chronology starts March 2 with the first bombing and concludes with the police pursuit of Conditt by police March 21 — the span between the dates book-ended with violent death.
The following chronology of events is drawn largely from an affidavit released on April 9 during a press conference spearheaded by U.S. Attorney John F. Bash. The 5 p.m. press conference took place on the 10th floor of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in downtown Austin at 816 Congress Ave.
It includes dates of each detonation and those before the pattern of serial bombings began investigators later learned during the course of their investigation.
On or about Feb. 27, a customer purchased several items at Frye’s Electronics store at 12707 N. MoPac Expressway, although the materials bought are heavily redacted in the affidavit. "The items included five [redacted] Battery Holder With Snap Connector," the affidavit reads. "Preliminary analysis of the explosive device revealed that all six explosive devices utilized a [redacted] Battery Holder With Snap Connector. The customer utilized a U.A. bank credit card issued to Mark Conditt, who according to Texas Department of Public Safety drivers’s license records, resides at 403 2nd St., Pflugerville, TX 78660." That knowledge led officials to learn of Conditt’s ownership of a red pickup truck that matched store surveillance camera footage.
March 2, 2018: At around 6:55 a.m., at 1112 Haverford Dr. in Northeast Austin, a parcel bomb left on the front porch of the single-story home results in the death of Anthony S. House. The father of an eight-year-old girl would be the first to die in the terror campaign, the first to handle a benign-looking package left on a doorstep, triggering the explosive device within. "Analysis of this explosive device by the ATF lab determined that the powder found inside the device was [redacted] powder," the partially censored affidavit reads of the package that detonated on the front porch.
March 12, 2018: At around 6:44 a.m. at 4806 Oldfort Hill Dr. in Northeast Austin, an explosion that occurred inside the residence results in the death of Draylen Mason, 17, a promising musician. His mother was seriously injured in the blast, but is expected to recover. "Preliminary analysis of the explosive device revealed that it utilized [redacted] as part of the triggering mechanism."
March 12, 2018: At around 11:50 a.m. at 6705 Galindo St. in East Austin, an explosion occurred inside the residence sending Esperanza Herrera, 75, to the hospital with multiple injuries. "Based on communications from the victim, the package containing the explosive device may have had the address 6705 Galindo written on it," the affidavit reads. "Preliminary analysis of the explosive device revealed that it utilized [redacted] as part of the triggering mechanism."
On or before March 13, 2018: At around 6:30 p.m., a red truck arrived at a Home Depot in Round Rock frm which a white male emerged before waling into the hardware store. He purchased several items, including a sign with red background and white lettering reading "Drive Like Your Kids Live Here." That sign would figure prominently during a March 18 attack that left a pair of bicyclists injured.
March 18, 2018: Sometime before 9 p.m., an explosion occurred near the block of 4800 Dawn Song Drive and 4721 Eagle Feather Drive in Southwest Austin, injuring two men pushing their bicycles along the street. This bombing departed from the previous three in that it was left on the street curb rather on a front porch or at a doorstep. Investigators revealed a yard sign with a red backing and white letters that read "Drive Like Your Kids Live Here" was used to conceal the package. Colton Mathes and Will Grote were injured in the ensuing blast that occurred when they inadvertently engaged a trip wire used as triggering device for exploding package.
March 18, 2018: Officials would later learn that two packages to be sent via FedEx (see below) were processed on this date. a conclusion drawn on the basis of store surveillance camera footage. "Information from FedEx revealed that both packages discovered on March 20, 2018, (see below) wre sent by the same individual at a FedEx location in Austin, Texas, on Brodie Lane," the affidavit reads. "Video footage was recovered from the FedEx and revealed that a single white male individual shipped both packages. He was wearing gloves and a hat in the store. He paid in cash. It appeared that he was wearing a wig."
March 20, 2018: At around 12:45 a.m. at the FedEx processing center in Schertz, Texas — located some 65 miles south of Austin — another package exploded. At around 7 a.m. the same day, another package was located at the FedEx facility located near the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport at 4117 McKinney Falls Parkway, intercepted before it detonated. "That package was X-rayed and an explosive device was found inside," the affidavit reads. "Law enforcement was able to render the device safe."
March 20, 2018: A confidential source is shown a photo of Conditt to prove his identity, cross-checked with surveillance camera footage from Home Depot taken March 13. The witness gives police a 98 percent certainty that the person shown in the footage was Conditt.
March 20, 2018: This is when police start closing in on Conditt a full 18 days since the first explosion. They take photograph of 403 2nd St. in Pflugerville where he lived, and conduct surveillance. Investigators also spot a 2002 red Ford Ranger pickup truck matching witness descriptions and store surveillance camera footage. "The [redacted] footage revealed multiple items in the bed of the pickup truck," Reynaldo Alatorre Jr., special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) wrote in the affidavit. "I have seen the [redacted] exterior camera footage of the red pickup truck, and believe that the items in the bed of the truck in that footage are consisistent with the items captured in the [redacted] photograps of the truck at 403 2nd Street N. discussed above."
March 21, 2018: In the early morning hours, Conditt is located inside his vehicle in a parking lot outside a Round Rock hotel. A police chase ensues, leading the suspect to inadvertently drive his vehicle into a ditch. Cornered, he blows himself up with one of the same detonation devices he used to unleash terror on unsuspecting victims.
Site of the first lethal parcel bomb detonated at 1112 Haverford Dr.
Site of the second lethal parcel bomb at 4806 Oldfort Hill Dr.
Site of the third blast that seriously injured 75-year-old Esperanza Herrera.
Site of March 18 blast injuring two inadvertently tripping wire
>>> Top image: U.S. Attorney John F. Bash flanked by other law enforcement officials during press conference updating serial bombings investigation on April 9, by Tony Cantú,