Goodwill incident unrelated to serial bomber; military ordnance was mishandled

Austin

What was believed to have been an explosion at a south Austin Goodwill that had authorities swarming the area on Brodie Lane at Slaughter Lane turned out to be unrelated to the serial bombings around Austin.

The Austin Fire Department says the call for a possible package explosion came in at 7 p.m. at the Goodwill located at 9801 Brodie Ln., which is just north of Slaughter Lane. 

Austin-Travis County EMS says a man in his 30s was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

In a tweet at 8:05 p.m., the Austin Police Department said the items inside the package was not a bomb but rather “an incendiary device” and that it wasn’t a “package explosion.”

During a news conference at 9:40 p.m., APD Assistant Chief Ely Reyes made it very clear this incident was in no way connected to the series of bombings that the city has seen. 

“We have no reason to believe that this has any relation to the other incidents that have occurred,” says Reyes. 

Reyes explained a Goodwill employee found a box that someone had dropped off that contained items that the store didn’t want. The employee then handed the box over to another employee to dispose of it. 

“That employee took the box around the corner and upon looking inside the box it had two small devices that were artillery simulators that look like some type of military ordnance or memento,” says Reyes. 

When the employee handled it, it went off in his hand. After their investigation, police determined there were two artillery simulator devices that were approximately 6 inches in length. 

Even though it turned out to be unrelated, Reyes says everyone responded to the call as if it were an explosion.

“Of course as you can imagine with all the incidents that have been going around in the Austin area recently, we responded this with our EOD (explosive ordnance team) team along with ATF, FBI to investigate this just as we did all of the rest of the incidents that occurred in the city as an explosive device,” explains Reyes. 

A spokesperson for Goodwill of Central Texas says an employee was injured but had non-life threatening injuries. St. David’s South Austin Medical Center says the person was treated and released as of 9 p.m. Goodwill says the Brodie location will remain closed Wednesday.

A Department of Public Safety trooper’s vehicle responding to the scene caught fire outside the scene, filling the street with smoke until it was put out.

In an interview with Fox News, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton originally said he was hearing the Brodie Lane incident was related to the Austin bombings even though Austin police said it wasn’t. In a follow-up interview with KXAN, Paxton said once he talked to APD Police Chief Brian Manley, he learned it was unrelated.

If you come across an old military ordnance or military memento, you’re asked to call 911 so they can dispose of it properly.

Areas Impacted

Brodie Lane was blocked off for a period of time until police cleared it around 10 p.m.

The Austin Independent School District says nearby Bowie High School was on reverse evacuation for an hour but was cleared at 8:30 p.m. 

A KXAN viewer named Cliff lives four blocks away and said he was in his backyard when he heard a loud pop. 

“At first, I thought the worst. By the sound, I thought maybe it was a transformer because it was a higher sounding pop. Then I heard sirens. When I heard more sirens, I knew it was a not a transformer,” said Cliff. 

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