A serial bomber had terrorized residents in Austin, Texas, for nearly three weeks. The city was paralyzed with fear; no one knew when or where the next attack would occur.
The whole situation put everyone on edge.
But now, it appears the deadly scourge of bombings has come to a close.
Early Wednesday morning, a SWAT team closed in on the suspected bomber whose lethal explosives had wreaked havoc on the lives of innocent Texans.
The bomber, Mark Anthony Conditt, an unemployed college dropout who bought bomb-making materials at Home Depot, used one of his own makeshift devices to blow himself up.
But police warned he could have planted more bombs before his death, and the cautioned the city to stay on guard.
Police tracked down the 23-year-old using store surveillance video, cell phone signals and witness accounts of a customer shipping packages in a disguise comprising a blond wig and gloves.
The suspect was eventually located at a hotel suburb north of Austin.
The serial bomber, whose motives are still unclear, had been at large for almost a month until a major breakthrough in the case this week cracked the investigation wide open.
‘Fortunately, we were able to do some digging and find this individual over the last 48 hours,’ Fred Milanowski, a special agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told the Austin American-Statesman Wednesday.
The wave of bombings began March 2, when Anthony Stephen House, a 39-year-old father and athlete, was killed by a package bomb left on his front porch.
The second and third bombings occurred ten days later, on March 12, killing 17-year-old cellist Draylen Mason and critically injuring two women, including Mason’s mother. The bombs had also been placed on the victims’ doorsteps.
The fourth bomb was triggered by a tripwire strung across a sidewalk.
A fifth parcel bomb detonated early Tuesday morning at a FedEx distribution center near San Antonio.
Rep. Michael McCaul said Conditt’s ‘fatal mistake’ was walking into a FedEx store to mail a package because that allowed authorities to obtain the surveillance video that led to his apprehension.
Investigators are analysing Conditt’s internet history to discover how he learned to make bombs.
His two roommates were detained for questioning. One was later released.
For now, Texas can breathe a ‘cautious’ sigh of relief.