VIDEO: Footage Shows Moment Austin Bomber Blew Up Car As SWAT Was Breaching
Round Rock, TX – Police have released helicopter footage that showed the deadly confrontation between the Austin bomber and law enforcement officers, including the fireball explosion that resulted in the bomber’s death (video below).
Two people were killed, and five more were injured, during the 19-day series of bombings that terrorized the citizens of Austin.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said authorities had been tracking the suspect, 23-year-old Mark Conditt, for a couple of days before they located him at a Round Rock hotel, not far from his hometown of Pflugerville, on Mar. 21, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
Police had no contact with the suspect prior to him blowing himself up.
Authorities set up to watch the hotel’s parking lot while they waited for tactical teams and ballistic equipment to arrive at the scene, when the suspect’s vehicle suddenly started to drive away, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley during a press conference at the time.
The video, recorded by a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter, showed Conditt’s vehicle as it backed away from a parking lot space and drove out onto a frontage road.
As the suspected serial bomber traveled southbound, police vans got into position both in front of and behind him, the video showed.
Police quickly boxed the SUV in, then rammed it from behind with one of the vans. The collision caused Conditt to crash into the back of the second police van, preventing him from driving further.
As a swarm of officers descended on the scene, two officers rushed towards the passenger side of the suspect’s vehicle, the video showed.
They began banging on the vehicle’s door, just as the frame lit up with the flash of a huge explosion.
The officers stepped back for a fraction of a second before they advanced towards the flaming SUV yet again.
Conditt was killed in the explosion, which blew the officers back, but did not cause any serious injuries, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
The FBI and Austin police are continuing to investigate the serial bomber, and have been conducting forensic examinations of Conditt’s computers and cell phone.
According to FOX News, Conditt confessed to the bombings in a recording found on a cell phone discovered with his body.
"It is the outcry of a very challenged young man talking about challenges in his life that led him to this point," Chief Manley said after watching the video, according to CNN. "I know everybody is interested in a motive and understanding why. And we're never going to be able to put a [rationale] behind these acts."
Conditt had described the seven explosive devices that had detonated “with a level of specificity” that left no doubt as to whether he had built them, the chief said.
CNN reported that authorities had found a “bombmaking lair” inside the house Conditt occupied with roommates.
In one room, investigators found components for making similar bombs to the ones that exploded, said Fred Milanowski, the special agent in charge for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in Houston.
SAC Milanowski said that agents did not find any additional completed bombs at the residence, CNN reported.
All of the devices that Conditt described in his confession have already exploded, leaving police to believe the threat had been neutralized when the bomber took his own life.
You can watch helicopter footage of the SWAT officers’ encounter with the serial bomber in the video below: