A series of explosions in central Texas are “appalling” according to a joint message issued by the bishops of Austin and San Antonio, where the attacks have happened.
Police say the suspect blew himself up early on Wednesday morning as authorities moved in, although they warned more explosive devices may still be in the area.
Five explosions have been attributed to the unnamed bomber – four in packages and one most likely due to a tripwire.
The state’s capital – Austin – has been the center of the attacks.
“We know that law enforcement agencies are diligently striving to solve these cases and bring those responsible to justice,” Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio and Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin said in a joint statement on March 20.
“We place our trust in the Lord, as it states in Joshua, ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’ We ask all people in our dioceses to remain vigilant, and to pray and work for peace,” the bishops said.
The first package bombing happened on March 2 – Texas Independence Day – killing a 29-year-old man outside his house in Austin. Another man was killed, and his mother seriously injured, by another package bomb in Austin on March 13.
The same day, another woman was injured by a similar device in the same city.
On March 18, a device set off by a tripwire injured two men walking down a street in the capital.
The latest explosion took place at a FedEx facility in Schertz on March 20, located in the Archdiocese of San Antonio. The package that exploded was supposed to be delivered to Austin, and police believe the same person or persons is responsible.
Another explosion on the evening of March 20 at a Goodwill store in Austin is not considered suspicious, and authorities said an incendiary device was donated to the facility by mistake, and they do not believe the bomber is involved.
Police in Austin have told residents not to handle unknown packages and to be careful when travelling in the city.
García-Siller and Vásquez said their thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families and friends of all those affected by the crisis.
“These appalling attacks have killed and injured innocent people, young adults, and children who were in their homes, bicycling on the street, and working at their jobs,” the bishops’ joint letter said.
“The randomness of these attacks and their increasing frequency are perhaps meant by their perpetrator to spread fear and cause division in our communities,” the statement continued. “However, as we have seen time and time again, tragedies such as these strengthen our bonds and bring our communities together in prayer and recognition of the sanctity and preciousness of life.”
This story was updated with the information on the death of the suspected bomber.