Mark Conditt, the serial bomber who terrified Austin residents from March 2 and early Wednesday, when he blew himself up as police closed in on his vehicle, recorded what police say amounts to a video confession. However, the mystery why he did what he did continues as the video didn’t elaborate on his motive.
The 25-minute “confession” on a cell phone found after Conditt’s death detailed how he’d made all seven bombs that had been accounted for – five that exploded one that was recovered before it went off and a seventh that amounted to a suicide bombing as officers closed in, Reuters reported.
“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,” Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told reporters.
“I would classify this as a confession,” Manley said. Conditt had no criminal history.
Based on their search of the suspect’s home and his video statement, police said they believed there were no other bombs, and that the danger to the public had subsided. However, FBI Special Agent Christopher Combs said investigators believe the suspect would have continued his attacks had he not been apprehended.
Police recovered a “target list” of addresses, but the video included no explanation why Conditt selected these targets.
Conditt likely recorded the video between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Tuesday when, according to Manley, Conditt said he believed police “were getting very close to him,” and he was proven right. Authorities filed a criminal complaint and issued an arrest warrant around that time.
“This can never be called a happy ending, but it’s a damn good one for the people of this community, the people of the state of Texas,” Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore told reporters.
Residents of Austin – a city of more than 1 million people – voiced relief that the hunt for the bomber had ended.
“I am going to be leery and extra careful tomorrow at work, but I feel relieved now,” said Jesus Borjon, 44, an employee of parcel delivery firm UPS, who lives in Pflugerville. The first bomb went off during Austin’s annual South by Southwest festival of music, film and technology.
The Associated Press recounted how police used standard investigative techniques, like examining receipts and surveillance footage, to track Condit.
Rep. Michael McCaul, a Republican from Austin, told the AP that Conditt’s “fatal mistake” was walking into a FedEx store to mail a package because that allowed authorities to obtain surveillance video that showed him and his vehicle, along with his license plate number. From there, investigators could identify the suspect and eventually track him using his cellphone.
Police discovered homemade bombs inside Conditt’s home in Pflugerville, a community where, notably, portions of the popular TV Show “Friday Night Lights” had been filmed. His two roommates were detained for questioning. One was later released.
Investigators said one room in the home contained bomb components and explosive materials but no finished bombs. Police do not know how Conditt learned to make the bombs, but said they were analyzing his Internet history.