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Indianapolis FedEx workers receive update on explosion at facility near San Antonio, Texas

Posted at 2:35 PM, Mar 20, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS -- FedEx workers in Indianapolis received an update from the company Tuesday regarding the package bomb explosion at the FedEx distribution center near San Antonio, Texas that left one worker with minor injuries.

It's believed the bomb is linked to the recent bombings in Austin. 

A second unexploded bomb was found at the same facility, authorities said. 

Hours later, police sent a hazardous-materials team to a FedEx facility in Austin to check on a suspicious package there. There was no immediate word about whether that package contained explosives.

The internal memo that FedEx workers here in Indianapolis received read as follows:

"FedEx has confirmed that a package detonated at a San Antonio FedEx Ground facility this morning. We have also confirmed that the individual responsible also shipped a second package that has now been secured and turned over to law enforcement. We are thankful that there were no serious injuries from this criminal activity. We have provided law enforcement responsible for this investigation extensive evidence related to these packages and the individual that shipped them collected from our advanced technology security systems. The safety and security measures in place across the FedEx networks are designed to protect the safety of our people, customers and communities, and to assist law enforcement as appropriate."

Call 6 sources say Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's Homeland Security Division has been in contact with Fedex facilities in the city since early Tuesday and have been making precautionary checks to ensure everything is safe. 

Right now there is no known threat to central Indiana or any facility here, but police say if you do receive an unexpected package you should be alert. 

Indianapolis is home to several FedEx facilities, including the FedEx's second largest hub in the U.S. with several thousand employees.

CALL 6 |Take a look inside Indy's FedEx hub, the second-largest in the U.S.

In January, the company announced it willinvest $1.5 billion in the hub over the next seven years.

The package at the FedEx facility in San Antonio was on a conveyer belt when it detonated. One worker reported ringing in her ears after the blast. She was treated and released from a hospital.

Before it exploded, the package had been sent from Austin and was addressed to a home in Austin, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told Austin television station KXAN.

Schertz Police Chief Michael Hansen said the intended target of the bomb was not the shipping facility or anyone in Schertz.

The FedEx blast came less than two days after another bombing wounded two men Sunday night in a quiet Austin neighborhood.It was triggered by a nearly invisible tripwire, suggesting a “higher level of sophistication” than agents saw in three package bombs left on doorsteps, according to Fred Milanowski, agent in charge of the Houston division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Authorities have not identified the two men who were hurt Sunday, saying only that they are in their 20s and white. But William Grote told The Associated Press on Monday that his grandson was one of them and that he had what appeared to be nails embedded in his knees.

Police described the men’s injuries as significant, and both remained hospitalized Monday in stable condition.

Grote said his grandson was in a lot of pain. On the night of the bombing, one of the victims was riding a bike in the street and the other was on a sidewalk when they crossed a tripwire that he said knocked “them both off their feet.”

“It was so dark they couldn’t tell, and they tripped,” he said. “They didn’t see it. It was a wire. And it blew up.”

Grote said his son, who lives about 100 yards (90 meters) from the blast, heard the explosion and raced outside to find both of the young men bleeding profusely.

The presence of a tripwire was a departure from the first three bombings, which involved parcels left on doorsteps that detonated when moved or opened.

The tripwire heightened fears around Austin, a town famous for its cool, hipster attitude.

“It’s creepy,” said Erin Mays, 33. “I’m not a scared person, but this feels very next-door-neighbor kind of stuff.”

Police repeated prior warnings about not touching unexpected packages and issued new ones to be wary of any stray object left in public, especially ones with protruding wires.

“We’re very concerned that with tripwires, a child could be walking down a sidewalk and hit something,” Christopher Combs, FBI agent in charge of the bureau’s San Antonio division, said in an interview.

Police originally pointed to possible hate crimes, but the victims have now been black, Hispanic and white and from different parts of the city.

Local and state officers and hundreds of federal agents are investigating. The reward for information leading to an arrest has climbed to $115,000.

“We are clearly dealing with what we believe to be a serial bomber at this point,” Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said, citing similarities among the four bombs. He would not elaborate, though, saying he did not want to undermine the investigation.

While the first three bombings all occurred east of Interstate 35, a section of town that tends to be more heavily minority and less affluent, Sunday’s was west of the highway. The differences in location, the lack of a motive and other unknowns make it harder to draw conclusions about any possible pattern.

Thad Holt, 76, said he is now watching his steps as he makes his way through a section of town near the latest attack. “I think everybody can now say, ‘Oh, that’s like my neighborhood,’” he said.

The latest bomb was anchored to a metal yard sign near the head of a hiking trail, Milanowski said.

“It was a thin wire or filament, kind of like fishing line,” he said. “It would have been very difficult for someone to see.”

The suspect in the attacks killed himselfWednesday morning with a bomb inside his car.

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