Mark Anthony Conditt has been named by police as the suspected serial bomber who terrorised the capital region for the past three weeks.
The 23-year-old white male from Pflugerville, Texas, a suburb of Austin, died earlier this morning after setting off an explosive device in his vehicle after police had caught up to him approximately 13 miles north of his home, outside of the Round Rock, Texas, Red Roof Inn.
Mr Conditt, who had no criminal record or military experience, had been tracked there after police had identified his vehicle. He had left his hotel room around 3 am local time after which two Austin police officers pulled him over on the side of the road. He detonated the device as they approached the vehicle and one of the officers suffered minor injuries.
Police have now surrounded his home and that of his parents, just minutes apart in the quiet town, only five miles from the site of the first bomb which killed 39-year-old Stephan House and a bit further from where Draylen Mason, just 17, died after opening the package bomb in his kitchen.
Mr Conditt, unemployed and living with two housemates, had reportedly bought the bomb-making materials at a Home Depot store in Pflugerville according to Texas Congressman Michael McCaul. It is unknown if he acted alone however, which has left residents uneasy despite the news of his identification and death.
Fred Milanowski, an agent with the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said it was “hard to say” if the bombing suspect had acted alone. “What we do know is we believe the same person built each one of these devices,” said Milanowski, the agent in charge of the Houston, Texas, division of the ATF.
One man who lived next door to the suspect’s parents, Jeff Reeb, had described Mr Conditt’s family as “normal as I’ve ever seen” and others told The Independent he was “quiet” and almost “standoffish”. Lee Roca, who lived just around the corner from Mr Conditt but was not aware that was the suspect’s home until this morning, said he used to spot the young man at the local bar on karaoke nights. None reported they had any reason to worry about the unemployed Mr Conditt.
He left scant evidence on social media of what could have driven the “very kind” and “loving person,” as his grandmother Mary Conditt described him, to violence.
She told CNN he had been “looking forward to figuring out what most kids are – figuring out his life and visiting his family and being close to them”.
Mr Conditt had been homeschooled by his mother Danene and father Pat and had attended Austin Community College for a few years, but did not graduate.
“If anything, he’s low key and peaceful,” his grandmother said.
There were no Facebook posts or presence that were publicly accessible beyond a few pictures of him in family members’ accounts and a video of a boy in 2009 who looked like Mr Conditt, playing during a family holiday.
However, blog posts from 2012 by a user sharing his name and location, do reveal a few clues to his beliefs.
Beyond listing their interests as cycling, tennis and listening to music, the user had written that gay marriage should be illegal, called for the elimination of sex offender registrations, and argued in favor of the death penalty. On gay marriage, the user had posted: “Homosexuality is not natural. Just look at the male and female bodies. They are obviously designed to couple”.