Three package bombs left on doorsteps have exploded in less than two weeks in Austin, killing two people, wounding two others and leaving investigators searching for any possible explanation or motive. All of the victims were minorities. (March 13)

Residents in southwest Austin were asked to hunker down in their homes overnight after an explosion rocked the area Sunday injuring two men. Authorities worked to determine if the blast was another in a string of bombings that have left multiple people dead and wounded in the Texas capital. 

The two men were hospitalized with serious, but non-life threatening injuries, Austin-Travis County EMS said. 

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley wouldn’t say whether the explosion was linked to the string of package bombs that have fueled fears for more than two weeks.

Dozens of law enforcement officers, including FBI agents, flooded the neighborhood of single-family brick homes to investigate after the reported blast about 8:30 p.m. CT. 

Manley urged residents within a half-mile of the incident to stay inside until morning so law enforcement could clear the area. He said a backpack was found and authorities were working to deem it safe. 

He didn’t offer any details on the explosion or whether it was tied to any of the other incidents. 

“We just don’t know a lot at this point,” he said. “Stay inside and give us time.” 

Earlier Sunday, Manley held a televised news conference and made a plea to the person behind the attacks. 

“We hope this person or persons is watching and will reach out to us before anyone else is injured or anyone else is killed,” he said. “We assure you, we are listening and we want to understand what brought you to this point, and we want to listen to you, so please call us.

More: Austin police plead with serial bomber: We hope you are watching and will call us

Manley also announced a reward was increased to $100,000 for information that leads to an arrest in the case. That, along with an award from the governor’s office, would bring the total reward to $115,000. 

Each of the attacks have been similar: a plain cardboard box with standard shipping labels is left on a doorstep. 

Each had a bomb inside. 

Two people have been killed in the attacks and another two injured. If Sunday’s incident is tied to the string of attacks, it would make the fourth bombing in a little more than two weeks. 

The first package exploded March 2, killing Anthony Stephan House, 39, when he picked up a package on the front porch of his north Austin home. 

The second bomb went off before 7 a.m. on March 12 inside a home in east Austin. Police said Draylen Mason, 17, brought the package inside the kitchen and was opening it alongside his mother when it exploded.

Mason died, and his mother was hospitalized.

The third blast came a short time later in a neighborhood south of downtown. A 75-year-old Hispanic woman picked up a package on her front porch when it exploded, seriously injuring her. Manley said she remains hospitalized with “life-threatening injuries” and authorities are not publicly identifying her. 

Follow Christal Hayes on Twitter: Journo_Christal 

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