A reign of terror by a suspected serial bomber in Austin, Texas ceased Wednesday after a final detonation that ended his life. Now law enforcement officials have released his identity, and the bizarre details of his life are coming to light.
According to USA Today, the bombing suspect has been identified as Mark Anthony Conditt, who is either 23 or 24 years old. He’s been accused of killing two people and injuring at least six in a string of bombings that ranged from package bombs delivered to homes to a tripwire-rigged bomb on a neighborhood sidewalk.
A bombing report Tuesday evening at a South Austin Goodwill store ended up being a noisemaker and is not believed to have been related, according to the Austin Statesman.
A massive team of investigators identified Conditt as the possible bomber and caught up to him early Wednesday morning, according to ABC affiliate WNEP. His car was pulled over by a SWAT team after he left a hotel in Round Rock, on the north side of Austin. As SWAT team members approached, Conditt reportedly detonated a bomb, killing himself and injuring one officer. Conditt was declared dead, but officials are still warning the public to be aware of the possibility of package bombs having already been delivered.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley held a press conference to give more details about the deadly confrontation:
Details of Conditt’s life are beginning to emerge, and they are bizarre in how mundane they seem. The 20-something young man had been homeschooled and had attended a community college. He also appears have had a religious affiliation.
Danene, a woman who said she was his mom, wrote on Facebook several years ago, "I officially graduated Mark from High School on Friday. 1 down, 3 to go. He has 30 hrs of college credit too, but he's thinking of taking some time to figure out what he wants to do....maybe a mission trip."
A friend of Conditt's, Jeremiah Jensen, says he used to attend Austin Stone Community Church services and Bible studies with him five or six years ago. Austin Stone is the church Larry Cotton was recently placed on leave from for his role in reportedly covering up a sexual assault committed by former megachurch pastor Andy Savage, according to the Austin Statesman.
Jensen exclaimed, “I know faith was a serious thing for him. I don’t know if he held onto his faith or not. … The kind of anger that he expressed and the kind of hate that he succumbed to — that’s not what he believed in high school. I don’t know what happened along the way. This wasn’t him.”
Also according to the Statesman, Conditt wrote some blog posts for a U.S. government class and claimed to not be politically inclined. But he did identify himself as a conservative and wrote in opposition to abortion, the homosexual lifestyle, and gay marriage. He also wrote in favor of the death penalty.
“Living criminals harm and murder, again — executed ones do not,” he had mused.
Interestingly enough, he had also advocated for the doing-away of sex offender registries.
He enjoyed outdoor activities and reading and gave his former neighbors who have been interviewed no indication that he was dangerous. He and his dad had bought a piece of land last year, and his dad helped him extensively rennovate a house on it to live in.
He worked for a small startup company for four years before getting fired last August, and his former employee weighed in on what he observed about Conditt’s behavior. Take a look at the video below:
Wednesday afternoon, investigators searched Conditt’s home in Pflugerville, a neighborhood on the northeastern side of Austin. Inside, they found the components needed to make more bombs in one room of the house, but they didn't find any completed explosive devices. Conditt's two roommates were detained by police for questioning, and only one has been released as of early Wednesday evening.
A bomber's manifesto, if one exists, has not been released to the public. The motive behind the bombing attacks is still a mystery.
Please pray for the victims and their loved ones! In other news, a video of Trump and Melania has gone viral after how he reacted when she stumbled.