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Another Blast Injures 2 in Austin      03/19 06:15

   Two people were injured in another explosion in Texas' capital Sunday night, 
and police are not ruling out a connection to the three previous explosions 
that detonated earlier this month elsewhere in the city.

   AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Two people were injured in another explosion in Texas' 
capital Sunday night, and police are not ruling out a connection to the three 
previous explosions that detonated earlier this month elsewhere in the city.

   The latest blast occurred around 8:30 p.m. in a suburban neighborhood known 
as Travis Country in southwest Austin --- far from the previous three that were 
all in residential areas in the eastern part of the city --- and investigators 
didn't immediately confirm what caused it. But police Chief Brian Manley 
repeated previously issued warnings for residents not to touch any unexpected 
packages left at their homes.

   "What we have right now is a scene where it is obvious that an explosion has 
taken place," Manley said at a hastily organized news conference near the site 
of the latest blast.

   Manley, responding to reports that the latest explosion may have been 
detonated by a trip wire, said it was a possibility that the device was 
"activated by someone either handling, kicking or coming into contact with a 
trip wire that activated the device."

   He urged people within half a mile to stay in their homes and said 
authorities would keep the surrounding area blocked off at least until daybreak 
Monday "given the darkness and size of the area that we want to go in and 

   "We want to put out the message that we've been putting out and that is, not 
only do not touch any packages or anything that looks like a package, do not 
even go near it at this time," Manley said. Because "we have not had an 
opportunity to look at this blast site to really determine what has happened."

   Manley also said authorities were still working to "clear" a suspicious 
backpack found in the area that was part of a separate report.

   "It is important right now for anyone in the neighborhood behind us to 
remain inside and give us time to work through this," he said, adding that any 
witnesses should call 911 and report what they saw.

   Two men in their 20s were hurt in the latest blast. Police said they were 
hospitalized with injuries that weren't life-threatening. It was the fourth 
explosion to rock Austin in less than three weeks.

   The first was a package bomb that exploded at a northeast Austin home on 
March 2, killing a 39-year-old man. Two more package bombs then exploded 
farther south on March 12, killing a 17-year-old, wounding his mother and 
injuring a 75-year-old woman.

   Police said all three of those were likely related and involved packages 
that had not been mailed or delivered by private carrier but left overnight on 
doorsteps. Manley originally suggested they could have been hate crimes since 
all the victims were black or Hispanic, but now says that investigators aren't 
ruling out any possible motive.

   Manley last week urged residents receiving unexpected packages to call 
authorities without touching or opening them, and police responded to hundreds 
of calls about suspicious packages but didn't find anything dangerous.

   On Sunday, police blocked entrances to the neighborhood where the latest 
blast occurred and put up yellow tape about half a mile from the home where it 

   Despite the order for those living nearby to stay in their homes, neighbors 
milled around just outside the tape. Some reported hearing loud booms but 
couldn't provide many details. FBI agents arrived to conduct interviews.

   The latest explosion came hours after authorities raised the reward by 
$50,000 for information leading to the arrest of whoever is responsible for the 
first three explosions. It now totals $115,000.

   Sunday is the final day of the South By Southwest music festival, which 
draws hundreds of thousands to Austin every March. It is also the end of spring 
break for many area school districts, meaning families who were out of town in 
recent days are returning to a city increasingly on edge.

   The explosions occurred far from the main South By Southwest activities, 
though a downtown concert by hip-hop band The Roots was canceled Saturday night 
after a bomb threat. Authorities later arrested a 26-year-old man, and the 
incident did not appear to be related to any previous explosions.


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