By Jon Herskovitz
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A package bomb that killed a Texas teenager and injured a woman on Monday was believed to be linked to a deadly blast in the state’s capital city earlier this month, according to police, who were also investigating a third explosion that injured one.
Austin police said Monday’s package bomb that killed a 17-year-old, as well as a March 2 explosion that killed a man, were being investigated as homicides. The two homes that received the packages belonged to African-Americans.
“We cannot rule out that hate crime is at the core of this but we are not saying that that is the cause,” Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told a news conference.
Police said they responded to a second explosion of a package on Monday at another home in which a woman was injured. A police spokeswoman was unable to confirm if it was related to the other two explosions.
Monday’s blasts were in homes about 4 miles (6 km) apart in east Austin, while the March 2 blast occurred at house in the city’s northeast Harris Ridge neighborhood.
The March 2 blast, which killed a 39-year-old man, was initially investigated as a suspicious death but is now being treated as a homicide.
In the deadly blast on Monday, the 17-year-old resident found a package in front of his house in the morning and brought it into the kitchen, where it exploded, Manley said. The woman, in her 40s, was taken to an area hospital with injuries that were not thought to be life-threatening.
“We are looking at these incidents as being related,” Manley said, adding that federal investigators have joined the case.
After the March 2 explosion, Austin police said they had no indication the blast was related to terrorism.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz and Andrew Hay; Editing by Susan Thomas and Tom Brown)