By Hazel Trice Edney
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The NAACP is issuing a call for “vigilance, diligence and caution” to its members and communities in Austin, Texas after two men were killed and four injured by four bombs, two of which appeared to target the homes of Black people.
“Due to the horrible acts of domestic terrorism now occurring in Austin, this is a time to be cautious about any packages being left at homes,” said NAACP President Derrick Johnson. “We are asking our membership to be vigilant and to pay attention to anything out of the ordinary in their communities and avoiding picking up any unexpected packages left at their homes. We are working with our NAACP State President Gary Bledsoe and the NAACP Austin President Nelson Linder to help communities stay aware of potential for danger during this uneasy time.”
Two Austin men, 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House, a senior project manager at Texas Quarries; and 17-year-old Draylen Mason, a bass player and student at the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas, were killed by the first two bombs, both of which arrived in packages. Mason’s mother was also injured. House was killed by the first bomb March 2 after a package exploded on his front porch. Mason was killed and his mother injured in a similar incident March 12. A Hispanic woman, Esperanza Herrera, 75, was also injured when a package bomb exploded March 12. The race of the first four victims prompted police to speculate the bombings could be racially motivated.
The fourth bombing injured two White males March 18. Police say they came into contact with what appeared to be randomly placed trip wire, according to reports. On March 20, a bomb that exploded at a FedEx facility appeared to have been headed for Austin, the Washington Post reported. At first reports, there were no injuries in the FedEx blast.
The NAACP Austin branch has been working very closely with the Austin Police Department, the FBI and ATF to “monitor these devastating and criminal acts,” the NAACP statement said. Austin Police, FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have announced a $100,000 reward for anyone providing information toward an arrest in the case.
“We are urging our members to pay attention in their communities and to exercise caution when around any packages, said NAACP Austin President Nelson Linder. “We are asking parents to inform their youth to stay away from anything left on their doorsteps or at their homes. This is a time for us to communicate and keep in other informed regarding any type of strange behavior in our neighborhoods.”