A device that exploded early Tuesday at a Texas FedEx facility detonated before reaching its intended target — and is likely linked to the string of bombings that have rocked the state’s capital this month, officials said.
The package detonated while it was on an automated conveyor belt at the facility in Schertz, located about 70 miles south of Austin, where the earlier bombings occurred, Chief of Police Michael R. Hansen told reporters.
Hansen said it was “very early” in the investigation to definitively say if Tuesday’s blast was related to the series of bombings in Austin that have killed two people and injured several others.
“We’re confident that neither this facility or other areas in Schertz was a target,” he told reporters, while repeating a warning that the public should report any suspicious items to law enforcement.
FedEx said in a statement to Fox News that one employee is being treated for “minor injuries” after the single package exploded at the facility.
Hansen said the employee standing near where the blast took place complained of “ringing of ears” before being treated and released. “We were fortunate there were no injuries,” he said.
Authorities did not announce what was in the package, but law enforcement officials told KSAT the medium-sized package contained metal shrapnel and nails and was headed to Austin when it exploded on the conveyor track.
The blast prompted a large response from state, local and federal law enforcement agencies. Federal agents told the Associated Press the package is likely linked to attacks in Austin, while an ATF spokesperson told Fox News that officials are still processing evidence at the scene and its “too early” to say if this fifth blast is related.
An ATF official told Fox News officials are looking at the latest blast due to the proximity to Austin and the other blasts. law enforcement agents are carefully combing the scene at the 100,000 square foot facility, the official added.
FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge James Smith said at a morning news conference that authorities are going through the building and are “at the early stages” of investigating the blast.
“Right now, we have no indications that there are any issues or threats to the public here,” he told reporters.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told “FOX & friends” on Tuesday that President Trump has “been made aware of the situation” in Texas after the latest blast.
“We are continuing to work with local authorities on the ground to do everything we can,” she said.
Sanders added that federal authorities are working “closely” with local law enforcement to apprehend whoever is behind these “terrible acts.”
Authorities in Austin on Tuesday were investigating another suspicious package at a FedEx facility close to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on Tuesday. The Austin Fire Department said on Twitter that a hazardous materials investigation was taking place at the facility, but did not disclose additional information.