A package bomb blew up at a FedEx distribution center near San Antonio on Tuesday, hastening investigators to seek the public’s help in determining if there is any link to four homemade bombs that have rocked the state capital of Austin this month.
Hundreds of federal investigators joined local authorities in probing the bombings, which the White House said do not appear to be linked to terrorism.
The latest blast knocked a female employee off her feet, police said. The package, filled with nails and metal shrapnel, exploded shortly after midnight local time at the FedEx Corp sorting facility in Schertz, Texas, about 65 miles south of Austin, the San Antonio Fire Department said on Twitter.
Investigators were also examining a second suspicious package at the same facility, San Antonio Police Chief Bill McManus told reporters.
“There was one other package that we believe was also loaded with an explosive device that they are looking at right now,” McManus told reporters in Schertz, about 20 miles northeast of San Antonio.
In Sunset Valley, a town within Austin, police surrounded a FedEx store on suspicion it was linked to the Schertz bombing.
“The FBI is currently investigating a confirmed link between packages involved in the Austin bombing investigation and a mail delivery office in Sunset Valley. It appears that the source of the suspect packages was a private package delivery office in Sunset Valley,” Sunset Valley police said in a statement.
Even with the apparent Austin link, it remained unknown whether the latest incident was the work of what Austin police said could be a serial bomber who is responsible for the four earlier devices that killed two people and injured four others.
The blast at the FedEx facility in Schertz was the fifth in the state in the last 18 days and the first involving a commercial parcel service.
“We are committed to bringing perpetrators of these heinous acts to justice. There is no apparent nexus to terrorism at this time,” White House spokesman Sarah Sanders said in a Twitter post.
Investigators were trying to come up with a theory or intelligence regarding the motive for the bombings or identity of the bomber or bombers, a U.S. security official and a law enforcement official told Reuters.
The FBI was investigating the FedEx package explosion as if there were a connection to the Austin bombings, the law enforcement official said. Both sources declined to be identified.
Federal authorities at the scene offered few details, telling reporters their probe was in the early stages and that the building would be secured before investigators could gather evidence.
Authorities offered a $115,000 reward to anyone providing information leading the arrest or conviction of the culprit, and public urged the bomber to communicate with them to explain the motivation for the attacks.
We need the public’s help right now,” said James Smith, the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s San Antonio office.
Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee and Mark Hosenball and Lisa Lambert in Washington; Writing by Scott Malone and Daniel Trotta; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Jeffrey Benkoe
WATCH: New Zealand prime minister unfazed as quake hits during an interview
A moderate 5.6-magnitude earthquake rattled New Zealand's North Island early Monday but failed to crack Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's trademark composure as she conducted a live television interview.
The quake struck just off the coast before 8:00 am local time (2000 Sunday GMT) at a depth of about 52 kilometres (32 miles) near Levin, about 90 kilometres north of Wellington, the US Geological Survey said.
St John Ambulance and New Zealand Police both said there were no initial reports of injuries or damage. There was no tsunami warning.
But there was sustained shaking in Wellington, where Ardern was being interviewed on breakfast television from parliament's Beehive building, which is designed to absorb seismic forces by swaying slightly on its foundations.
US farmers are starting to worry as crop prices dip during COVID-19 crisis: ‘It’s kind of glum’
Dave Burrier steered his tractor through a field, following a GPS map as he tried to plant as much corn as possible amid the yellow and green rye covering the ground.
Striving to get a massive yield out of his crops in rural Maryland is how Burrier hopes to make it through yet another uncertain year, beset by market disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and renewed trade tensions between the United States and China.
"We've had so much price erosion that we're basically at below the cost of production. We've got to figure out how to manage and turn a profit," Burrier told AFP.
‘It’s the first time I’ve played golf in almost 3 months’: Trump makes excuses for golfing during coronavirus pandemic
President Donald Trump was blasted on Sunday for playing golf during the coronavirus pandemic, a dramatic economic recession and after proclaiming churches "essential."
Instead of joining his voters sitting in the pews, Trump went for the links, which drew criticisms for the hypocrisy.
"Sleepy Joe’s representatives have just put out an ad saying that I went to play golf (exercise) today. They think I should stay in the White House at all times. What they didn’t say is that it’s the first time I’ve played golf in almost 3 months, that Biden was constantly vacationing, relaxing & making shady deals with other countries, & that Barack was always playing golf, doing much of his traveling in a fume spewing 747 to play golf in Hawaii - Once even teeing off immediately after announcing the gruesome death of a great young man by ISIS!" tweeted Trump.