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Texas Investigators Trying To Determine Motive Of Austin Bomber


In Austin, Texas, new details are coming to light this evening about the man police say is behind a series of deadly bombings. Police say he left behind a 25-minute video that amounts to a confession. The video does not reveal a clear motive. Here's Austin Police Chief Brian Manley.


CHIEF BRIAN MANLEY: Having listened to that recording, he does not at all mention anything about terrorism, nor does he mention anything about hate. But instead it is the outcry of a very challenged young man talking about challenges in his personal life that led him to this point.

CHANG: Officials say he made the tape last night just hours before killing himself in an explosion as a SWAT team moved in on him. We're joined now by Nadia Hamdan of member station KUT who was at a news conference that just wrapped up. Welcome, Nadia.


CHANG: What are some of the new things we learned after that news conference?

HAMDAN: So as you said, it looks like the suspect left a 25-minute video. Our interim police chief Brian Manley said that it probably was created after the suspect had learned the police were closing in on him. So it amounts to a confession video. Obviously, yes, (inaudible) will touch base on that again about the fact that there was really no clear motive that was described in the video. But the suspect did go into how he created all seven of the bombs that he created, and he talked about the differences between the bombs.

So obviously law enforcement's reported that were - there were similarities between all of them, and they do say that there still were similarities. But of course there were small differences. And the suspect had gone into in this video - decided to go into describing how those differences were between each bomb. And of course there were seven bombs. There were the three that were put on the porches...

CHANG: Right.

HAMDAN: ...Of people's homes - those original three. There was a fourth that was done by a tripwire. The fifth and sixth were at those two FedEx facilities. And of course the seventh was the one that exploded in his vehicle.

CHANG: Do authorities know why the bomber did what he did? Do they have any information?

HAMDAN: You know, I even pulled interim Police Chief Brian Manley...

CHANG: Yeah.

HAMDAN: ...Aside after the fact privately and said, are we sure that there was no terrorism or hate crimes as a motive being considered after watching these videos? He said there was nothing in those videos that made them believe that it was terrorism or a hate crime. It just made them feel that this person had personal issues. That is directly from Police Chief Brian Manley.

So as of right now, there is no motive. And he didn't - you know, during the presser, interim Police Chief Brian Manley did say that sometimes there is no ration for these kinds of things. And it's unfortunate, but that seems to be what they're going off of right now.

CHANG: What about this suspect who killed himself, Mark Conditt? What more have we learned about him as a person?

HAMDAN: So our team is working really hard to try and dig that stuff up, but of course it's very hard to confirm. As of right now, we know he's 23 years of age. He would have been 24 in June. He is a white male. He lived in a home in Pflugerville. That's about 20 minutes north of Austin so not even within Austin. But there are reports that he attended courses at an Austin Community College around 2010 to 2012. But he - we also have reports - and it has been since (inaudible) that he was homeschooled by his mother. And on top of that, we are learning that he has no military history. That was confirmed by NPR.

So we're slowly learning a little bit more about this individual, but really there is not that much to go off of. As of now, there are no real red flags that we can point to to give us any indication as to why he did what he did. But yes, according to the presser - didn't really give us that much more even given the fact that he did give a confession of 25 minutes on the phone. And that was found this morning. But yes, we are still searching for a motive. But...

CHANG: Yeah.

HAMDAN: According to our interim police chief, there may not be one.

CHANG: So where does the investigation go from here beyond trying to figure out why he did this?

HAMDAN: Right. So right now, I mean, all of law enforcement that were at the presser this evening did say that the investigation is ongoing, so we are going to keep track of this and keep (inaudible) it. We want to make sure that - they said all the seven bombs that they've kept track of have been accounted for, but we still want to make sure that there's nothing left out there. So we're just going to keep hyper-vigilant about what's going on and keep the public appraised as best we can.

CHANG: All right, that's Nadia Hamdan of member station KUT in Austin, Texas. Thank you very much, Nadia.

HAMDAN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Nadia Hamdan