PFLUGERVILLE, Texas — The community remains in shock after learning the Austin bomber lived right in its own backyard.
Mark Anthony Conditt, of Pflugerville, died after police moved in on him Wednesday, but it doesn't mean the investigation is over.
Neighbors were surprised to see part of their street cordoned off, teeming with police and federal agents, but due to the nature of his crimes, and as a precaution, they evacuated this neighborhood all the way to downtown Pflugerville — an approximate four-block radius.
As of Wednesday night, around 9 p.m., the neighborhood was reopened and residents allowed back in.
Investigators shut the area down for several hours after they found explosive materials inside the home.
The FBI said about 500 agents also checked multiple areas to make sure no devices were planted.
Aside from sweeping the area for explosives, Conditt's two roommates were also detained for questioning. Their names have not been released.
Once police disarmed and removed devices from the home, residents were allowed to go back to their homes.
In a press conference, Austin police released more information about the bomber from a 25-minute video recording from a phone that they have called a confession.
"I know everybody's interested in a motive and understanding why, we're not gonna be able to put a ration behind these acts. But what I can tell you from listening in that recording, he doesn't at all mention anything about terrorism nor does he mention anything about hate. But instead, it's the outcry of a very challenged young man talking about challenges in his personal life that led to this point, Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said.
Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore was also at the briefing to talk about how it would've gone down if Conditt was taken alive. She said if he survived, he would be facing capital murder charges.
UPDATE [8:55 p.m.]: ATF gives all clear, allowing residents to re-enter their homes.
UPDATE [4 p.m.]: During a press briefing about 4 p.m. on Wednesday, the Pflugerville Police Department chief said crews were still working to remove devices from the suspect's home, located at 403 N. 2nd Street. Chief Jessica Robledo further said she wanted to assure citizens that the reason a five-block radius was evacuated was the ensure the safety of citizens.
A spokesman for the ATF said FBI and Austin Police Department bomb technicians have cleared the house and a national response team was performing a sweep of the residence. He further said components were located that led investigators to believe those same components were present in other devices.
The ATF spokesman further said that investigators are reasonably certain that there are no additional devices around that pose a threat to the community. Still, he asked for continued vigilance.
FBI spokesman Christopher Combs said that more than 500 federal agents are investigating multiple scenes and that this is a massive effort that is much larger than any operation undertaken in years. He went on to say that investigators have not found any complicated devices in the home but that one room contained a considerable amount of materials.
The ATF spokesman said that investigators are still working to determine how suspect Mark Anthony Conditt was able to construct the bombs or how he gained his expertise.
UPDATE [1:55 p.m.]: The two roommates of the Austin bomber have been detained for questioning, according to the Austin Police Department. One roommate was detained, questioned and released. The other is currently being questioned. Their names are not being released because they are not under arrest.
INITIAL REPORT [11:30 a.m.]: Residents are being evacuated from parts of Pflugerville while investigators are searching the home of the Austin bomber, Mark Anthony Conditt.
West of Railroad Avenue and North of Pecan are being evacuated by police while agencies continue to look for more information. Pflugerville City Hall has also been closed. Railroad Avenue from Pecan to Applewood is also closed.
According to Spectrum News reporter John Salazar, officials said they have increased the evacuated perimeter surrounding Conditt's house to a four to eight block circumference after investigators found munitions inside the home.
It has been 18 days since the start of the Austin serial bombings, and the suspect is now dead after he was found outside a Round Rock hotel overnight on Wednesday. Conditt detonated one of his own bombs as he was approached by police.
Law enforcement officials urge the public to remain vigilant because they do not know what the suspect was doing for the past 24 hours, and the potential for additional explosive devices is possible.
Reporter John Salazar from the scene:
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Spectrum News is working to get more information.
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