Police fear a racist package bomber could be on the loose after a second African-American person was killed by an exploding package in two weeks.
The 17 year-old boy died after picking up a piece of mail from the front doorstep of his home in Austin, Texas Monday, and bringing it into his kitchen, where it exploded.
That blast also injured a woman present in the house – and police now say they believe the tragedy is linked to a similar blast that killed Anthony Stephan House in a nearby neighborhood ten days ago.
And bomb disposal experts were called off the scene of Monday’s murder after a third explosion in downtown Austin left a woman in her 70s with life-threatening injuries.
Officials have linked the two fatal bombings, but yet to say whether they believe the third blast could also be the work of the same person.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley highlighted the victims’ ethnicity and said his force ‘could not rule out hate crimes.’
He added: ‘It is very similar to the incident that occurred in Austin on March 2.
‘We believe these cases are linked at this time.’
Monday’s fatal blast left ‘significant’ damage inside the home of the boy who was killed, with cops now asking neighbors whether they have any surveillance footage which could help ID the perpetrator.
Neighbor Cynthia Burdett told Fox 7 the incident was a ‘total shock’ and ‘very scary.’
She added: ‘I checked my house first of all to make sure nothing was on fire.
‘I did look outside at that point and next thing I knew police were knocking at the door saying that there was a suspicious package, one had exploded and that I needed to leave the house.’
Cynthia added that the victim and his relatives were ‘churchgoing people’ and a ‘very good family.’
The packages are not believed to have been delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.
Police say a device was concealed within, but have refused to comment further on the exact nature of the explosive.
They have warned anyone who receives a package they were not expecting to dial 911.