Are the Austin, Texas bombings race related?

Two bombs went off in Austin, Texas today. The first bomb killed a 17-year-old male and wounded another woman. The second bomb severely injured an elderly woman. Police say both bombings appear to be connected to a previous bombing on March 2nd. From the Associated Press:

Austin’s police chief says package bombs caused both explosions in Texas’ capital city on Monday, making it three this month.

Police Chief Brian Manley said at a news conference that the latest bombing injured a 75-year-old Hispanic woman.

Manley says investigators believe that attack and one earlier Monday that killed a 17-year-old boy and injured a woman in her 40s are linked to a March 2 package bombing that killed a 39-year-old man in another neighborhood.

The chief said earlier that investigators were considering whether the attacks could be race-related because the first three victims were all black. He says they aren’t ruling anything out, but they are no longer “making the connection to a hate crime.”

Both the ATF and the FBI have joined the Austin PD in the investigation. The connection of the bombings today to the bombings earlier this month is said to be based on similarities both in the type of bomb and the way it was delivered. It appears none of the packages were sent through any mail service. Instead, they were placed on the porch or in the yard of the victims by someone. And obviously, that suggests the bomber is nearby, not sending these from another city or state.

During a press conference today, police emphasized that the motive for the attacks is still unknown. Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said, “We do know that both of the homes that were the recipients of these packages belong to African-Americans, so we cannot rule out that hate crime is at the core of this but we’re not saying that that’s the cause as well.”

Police are asking Austin residents to be cautious if they receive a package they weren’t expecting and to call 911 if they believe any package appears suspicious in some way. Here’s a clip of the today’s press conference.