A series of explosions across Austin over the past two weeks appeared, at first, random, save for the fact that all of the victims had been people of color. But an NBC report on Wednesday revealed that the two victims who have died from the bombs — 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House and 17-year-old Draylen Mason — reportedly knew one another.
As Nelson Linder, the head of the city’s local NAACP chapter, said, the families of Mason and House “have a long history and go to the same church.” Linder also said both were from prominent African American families.
Both House and Mason, whose mother was also seriously injured in the blast earlier this week, were black. Another victim, 75-year-old Esperanza Herrera, is Hispanic, and remains in critical condition. Linder, however, said that the “intended target” of the bomb — disguised as a package — that injured Herrera “was another person who might be connected to the House and Mason families.”
The revelations toss new questions on whether the bombings were intended as random domestic terror attacks, or if they were planted with specific individuals in mind.
All of the bombs were originally left on the doorsteps of the victims, and were not mailed. CNN reported on Tuesday that law enforcement believe the bombs may have all come from the same maker, and that they were all “essentially pipe bombs rigged to explode upon opening.”
Austin police have requested that residents report any suspicious packages they may come across. On Wednesday, the police department said they have already received 370 calls reporting such packages, over the course of just two days.
Update on suspicious package incidents. (Numbers checked around 8:30 a.m.) We've had 108 suspicious package calls since 3 p.m. yesterday. That brings an event total of 370 suspicious package calls. #AustinPD
— Austin Police Dept (@Austin_Police) March 14, 2018
The FBI and ATF are currently aiding in the investigation. However, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley has already said they will likely face a “lengthy investigation” moving forward. Manley added that investigators have not yet ruled out a hate crime as a potential motive.