With the newest revelation today that a package believed bound for Austin, Texas exploded in a FedEx facility in Schertz, Texas, the investigation into the Texas serial bomber just got more complicated. If forensics link this bomb to the other four explosive devices in Austin, it casts a new light on the unknown bomber. Assuming the same person or persons are behind all five explosions, what does this us tell us about the so-called serial bomber?
1. The bomber(s) is a determined individual. He is moving rapidly to detonate as many of these devices as possible in as short an amount of time as possible. He has not been cowed by the attention of law enforcement and, in fact, may have been emboldened. In short, this guy is not running scared.
2. He is agile. The fact that he has now originated an attack from a location in Texas other than Austin indicates that he is mobile and can move with ease. He probably has enough money and time to travel to other locales to launch these attacks.
3. He is still targeting Austin, Texas. For a reason unknown to us, Austin remains "ground zero" for his bombings. This points to a motive connected with Austin: he lives or has lived there, he exhibits some degree of possible animosity or frustration with the Austin area or he equates the city with a past disappointment or resentment that is Austin-centric.
4. He has some degree of technical expertise which has allowed him to build multiple improvised explosive devices and to vary the types of bombs built.
What law enforcement must do now it to exploit any forensic evidence that can be harvested from the bombing sites. While the explosive devices have been destroyed upon detonation, trace physical evidence may remain in the form of latent finger prints, DNA or other evidence that can give police some needed leads. Further technical exploitation is also needed to understand how the bombs were engineered and assembled. Lastly, understanding the chemical nature of the explosives will point to what materials were used in making the bombs which could lead to likely sources of supply such as hardware stores or chemical supply companies. The police have a fast moving, agile opponent in the Austin bomber, but its just a matter of time that the forensics will catch up with the perpetrator.