If he’d gotten away with it and the packages had reached their intended targets, presumably the next alias used would have been “Austin B. Omber.”
I don’t want to beat up on the FedEx clerk who processed his order. The bomber hadn’t tried shipping any of his devices yet so parcel delivery services didn’t have a reason to be in BOLO mode. But if, in the middle of a highly publicized citywide bombing spree, a guy walks into your store carrying packages and wearing a bad wig and gloves on a warm day…
…and he tells you his name is “Kelly Killmore”…
…maybe you want to set those packages aside and give local PD a little ring-a-ding-ding.
Mark Conditt, the suspect who authorities believe was responsible for a series of bombings that killed two and injured at least four others in the Austin area used the name “Kelly Killmore” to ship two packages containing bombs via FedEx shortly after 7:30 pm on Sunday, according to law enforcement sources…
The two packages stayed hidden in the shipping system until one exploded on a conveyer belt at a FedEx facility in Schertz, Texas.
I asked this morning and I’ll ask again: Was this guy trying to get caught? Or was this such a lark for him that he decided to pull the cops’ nobs by using the alias “Killmore”? Maybe, after his string of successful bombings, he felt so invincible that he decided to dance in the end zone. “He almost became arrogant,” said a retired FBI agent to NBC. “To think he could get away with doing that by wearing disguises and what have you.”
The trip to FedEx was, it seems, his fatal mistake:
Witnesses told investigators of relevant purchases Conditt had made at stores, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told Austin NBC affiliate KXAN. Witnesses also remembered seeing the man with the wig in the FedEx center, and told investigators about the car he was driving, Abbott said. That drew investigators closer to Conditt.
Investigators tracked the suspect’s car to a Red Roof Inn in the city of Round Rock, authorities said, just north of Austin, and 15 miles from Conditt’s hometown, Pflugervile.
The dude in a cap, blonde wig, and gloves attracted the attention of bystanders, huh? Police eventually found his car, a red Nissan Pathfinder, at 1:30 this morning and moved in. He hopped in at 2:10 a.m. and drove off carrying at least one device, the one that killed him. We’ll never know where he was going but the cops theorized that the initial bombings had been carried out in the dead of night, with the bomber hopping out of his car to leave packages on the targets’ doorsteps and then driving away. Maybe he was back to his old M.O. Or maybe he was off to set another tripwire somewhere.
Finding him wasn’t as simple as capitalizing on his slip-up at FedEx, of course. Police started with a gigantic data set and kept narrowing the list of possibilities. They examined the components of each bomb, including those now-famous batteries, to create a “shopping list” and then worked backwards to see which locals had been buying similar items recently. They also used “closely guarded” high-tech software to identify and track the owners of cell phones who’d been in the vicinity of each bombing. Overlap those data sets and eventually one person will show up too often for his cameos to be coincidental. And then, if you’re lucky, he might be stupid enough to drive up to a FedEx and let people get a look at him.
Interesting fact: The bomber had not one but two roommates. One was questioned and already released today. The other was still being questioned per news reports filed late this afternoon. Police searched their home and found bomb components, but only in a single room. Maybe the roommates didn’t know. On the other hand:
Residents living nearby told KVUE neighbors had been hearing loud noises at night over the past few weeks. Shaun Valentine, who has lived in Pflugerville for the past year and a half, said his wife heard a loud noise late one night last week and they now wonder if was connected to the Austin explosions.
“Last Tuesday, about 3, 4 o’clock in the morning, and she was asleep, and something just so loud made her pop up,” said Valentine. They initially thought it was a transformer explosion, or someone at a local bar down the road. “The more we thought about it, we don’t really hear anything around here, this neighborhood’s really really quiet,” said Valentine. “And then come to find out, the guy lives right there.”
Could that have been the bomber test-firing somewhere nearby in the wee hours? I want to say, “No, that would be way too brazen given the extent of the manhunt for him at the time,” but then we’re back to the wig and gloves again.
His family issued a statement today claiming they had no idea of the “darkness” within him. An aunt says she saw him at Christmas and everything was fine. “He’s low-key and peaceful,” said his grandmother, speaking in the present tense, and came from a family “that is so tight, that works so hard to raise their children correctly.” Kelly Killmore, super-chill guy.
Update: The police have a “confession” — but it’s not hate and it’s not terrorism. Was it … desperation of some sort?
At a news conference Wednesday evening, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said authorities found the 25-minute recording on a cellphone belonging to Mark Anthony Conditt. In the recording, Conditt described in detail the six bombs that detonated or were discovered this month. The explosions killed two people and injured at least five others…
“He does not at all mention anything about terrorism, nor does he mention anything about hate,” Manley said. “This is an outcry by a very challenged young man.”