Teams working inside the home of suspected Austin bomber Mark Anthony Conditt have ordered an evacuation of the surrounding four to six blocks.
A specific reason for the evacuation was not given and officials have not said what they’ve found inside the home near Walnut Street and 2nd Street. However, nearby downtown Pflugerville north of Pecan and west of Railroad Avenue has been evacuated as a precaution and City Hall has closed for the day.
With guns drawn, Austin SWAT officers surrounded the suburban Austin home Wednesday morning. At about 10:30 a.m. SWAT officers were heard shouting for someone to “come out with your hands up.” There was no response and officials have not said who they are trying to get to leave the home. Moments later it appeared SWAT teams backed off and lowered their guns, but they’re still positioned outside of the residence.
Investigators detained two of Conditt’s roommates. One was questioned and released. The other is currently being questioned. Austin police said their names will not be released because they are not under arrest at this time.
At about the same time, and only blocks from the suspect’s home, agents with the FBI and ATF entered the home of Conditt’s parents.
Officials said late Wednesday morning the suspect’s family has been very cooperative with law enforcement and that they don’t believe the family had any knowledge of the suspect’s alleged activity. The family plans to release a statement through the Austin police later in the afternoon.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said Wednesday morning authorities zeroed in on Conditt over the last 24 to 36 hours and tracked him to a hotel on Interstate 35 in the north Austin suburb of Round Rock, north of Pflugerville. They were waiting for ballistic vehicles to arrive when his vehicle began to drive away, Manley said. Authorities followed the vehicle, which stopped in a ditch on the side of the road, the police chief said.
When members of the SWAT team approached, Conditt detonated an explosive device inside the vehicle, the police chief said. The blast knocked back one officer, while a second officer fired his weapon, Manley said.