AUSTIN (KXAN) — Thursday marks five years since nearly a month of terror ensued in Austin and surrounding communities after a series of bombings.
The bombings happened around Austin from March 2 to March 21, 2018, killing two people and injuring four others, according to investigators.
Editor’s Note: The above video is from a March 2018 press conference with the Austin Police Department and city leaders. Former Austin Police Chief Brian Manley tells the public how authorities tracked down the suspect.
A multi-agency investigation eventually reached numerous locations and two cities over the span of several weeks. The search for the suspect ended on March 21, 2018.
Timeline: Austin bombings
6:55 a.m.— Package bomb explodes on a front porch at 1112 Haverford Dr. in northwest Austin, killing 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House.
6:44 a.m.— Package bomb brought inside a home at 4806 Oldfort Hill Dr. in east Austin explodes in the kitchen, killing 17-year-old Draylen Mason and injuring his mother.
11:50 a.m.— Package bomb outside southeast Austin home at 6708 Galindo St. explodes when picked up by 75-year-old Esperanza Morena Herrera, who was critically injured by the blast.
2:30 p.m.— Gov. Greg Abbott announces a $15,000 reward for info leading to the identification and arrest of the person or people responsible.
4 p.m.— Austin Police Department announces $50,000 reward on top of governor’s $15,000 reward.
2 p.m.— Reward increases to a total of $115,000. Former Austin Police Chief Brian Manley, addressing the person or people responsible, pleads with them to come forward before anyone else is injured or killed.
8:30 p.m.— First responders called to the Travis Country neighborhood in southwest Austin where a bomb exploded near the street in the 4800 block of Dawn Song Dr., injuring two men in their 20s who were either riding or walking their bicycles.
1:30 a.m.— In an early morning update, Manley says it is “very possible” the fourth bomb was triggered by a trip wire next to the road. He expands his warning about suspicious packages to all suspicious items, urging people to call 911 rather than touch or move them themselves.
2:30 p.m.— Gov. Abbott’s office issues $265,500 in emergency funding for APD to purchase seven portable x-ray machines.
12:30 a.m.— Package explodes at FedEx distribution center in Schertz, Texas — just northeast of San Antonio. The package was sent from a FedEx store at 5601 Brodie Ln. in south Austin. The package, which exploded during sorting, was bound for an Austin address.
6:19 a.m.— Suspicious package found at FedEx facility at 4117 McKinney Falls Pkwy in southeast Austin. A source told NBC News officials were going to blow up a suspected bomb found at the facility, which is next to the Austin airport.
9 a.m.— The FedEx store on Brodie Lane is closed and cordoned off by police.
12 a.m.— Authorities swarm a home in the heart of Pflugerville and tell residents nearby to shelter in place.
2 a.m.— Police and federal agents followed the 23-year-old suspect, as he tried to drive away from a hotel where he was staying. The suspect got stuck in a ditch and a standoff ensued. The suspect triggered an explosive device, killing himself and knocking a SWAT officer to the ground. Another SWAT officer shot the suspect.
A look at the lives forever changed by the Austin bomber
Anthony Stephan House, 39: The first person to pick up a bomb disguised as a package left at his front door. It exploded when he picked it up, and he did not survive the blast.
Draylen Mason, 17, and his mom: They brought a bomb disguised as a package inside their home. It exploded in the kitchen. Draylen did not survive, and his mother was injured.
Esperanza Morena Herrera, 75 at the time of the bombing. She was injured after a package outside her home exploded when she picked it up.
William Grote, III, 22 at the time of the bombing, and Colton Mathes, 23 at the time of the bombing. Grote was riding his bike on the street and his friend was walking on the sidewalk when they triggered a bomb. The device was attached to a tripwire, which was different than the three previous package bombs.
The aftermath and the investigation
Nearly one year after the SWAT standoff, the public finally got an inside look at what investigators were looking into just hours before the incident.
Since the man’s death, federal agents scoured every element of his life. Investigators interviewed his family, friends, neighbors and executed nine separate search warrants on his home, vehicles, electronic devices, financial records and on his digital life in an effort to figure out whether he acted alone.
According to investigators, the government found no evidence of communications or links between the man and any international terror groups or domestic hate groups.
In other words, he acted alone.
Federal agencies investigating him found “no evidence that any recognized ideology” fueled the bombing spree that killed two Austinites and left five other people injured from the blasts.
The trip to the shipping store also helped agents capture his license plate and a description of his SUV. That SUV is what law enforcement found at a Round Rock hotel before dawn on March 21 while they waited to serve a federal warrant on him.
The 23-year-old drove away from the hotel with agents behind him. Minutes later, he was surrounded. A law enforcement helicopter’s video camera showed the moment a bomb inside Conditt’s vehicle exploded with two police officers standing only feet away from Conditt.
Interview with his roommate
Six months after the serial bombings, in an exclusive interview with KXAN, his roommate, Collin Thomas, 26 at the time of the interview, said he lived with him for six months in a small Pflugerville home. Thomas also rented the space along with another roommate.
Thomas said he was arrested and interrogated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for several hours.
“They kept asking me about my roommate multiple times and I kept thinking, ‘It’s gotta be a mistake,’” Thomas said.
Thomas said they met through mutual friends before moving in together, and he seemed completely normal.
“He was the type of person to want to take the shirt off his back and help you out,” Thomas said.
His roommate was helpful, but also extremely private. Thomas said his roomate never let anyone in his bedroom, and always kept the door locked except for one time when Thomas was moving in.
“He liked to tinker with a lot of computers,” said Thomas. “He told me he built his own server so I see all these wires going through his room and I say ‘Oh, that’s pretty cool.’”
The question Thomas hears the most: How did he not know what was going on in the room next door?
“I’m sorry guys, I’m a human being. I don’t know everything that my next-door neighbor is doing,” Thomas said.