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Package Meant For Austin Blows Up At FedEx Building Near San Antonio

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SAN ANTONIO, Texas -

The San Antonio Texas Fire Department said a package bomb apparently bound for Austin exploded at a FedEx distribution center in Schertz, Texas, hurting one person, a FedEx employee who apparently suffered a non-life-threatening "percussion-type" injury from the blast. An FBI agent told CBS News "it's more than possible" the package is related to explosions that have occurred in Austin in recent days.

The package exploded shortly after midnight on Tuesday.

ATF and FBI agents were at the scene of the FedEx facility Tuesday morning analyzing components of the explosive device. They were looking for any similarities of ingredients or components that are "a signature" that would link this package explosion to the other four bombing incidents in Austin, reports CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton. 

A law enforcement source told Milton it appears the package that exploded was mailed from Austin to Austin, Texas.   

The Austin Police Department said it is aware of the explosion and is working closely on the investigation with federal law enforcement agencies.

An FBI spokeswoman, Special Agent Michelle Lee, said it is still early in the investigation into the Tuesday bombing at the FedEx facility, but she said "it would be silly for us not to admit that we suspect it's related" to the four Austin bombings that have killed two people and injured four others since March 2. She didn't have details about the size, weight or description of the package.

"We can confirm that a single package exploded while in a FedEx Ground sortation facility early this morning," a FedEx spokesperson told CBS News. "One team member is being treated for minor injuries. We are working closely with law enforcement in their investigation. We are not providing any additional specific information about this package at this time."  

CBS affiliate KENS received a call from one woman whose husband works at the facility. She told the station that he was not being allowed to leave.  

Later Tuesday morning, Austin police deployed a hazardous materials squad to a FedEx shipping facility near the city's airport to investigate reports of a suspicious package. It wasn't immediately known if the package is linked to the bomb that detonated earlier Tuesday at the FedEx distribution center near San Antonio, or the four bombs that have gone off in Austin this month. But the Austin Police Department said an investigation is underway.

Brian Manley, chief of the Austin Police Department, urged people to remain vigilant. 

Tuesday's blast came as authorities searched for answers in a series of explosions that have rattled Austin. The most recent bombing in the city injured two men Sunday night in the quiet neighborhood of Travis Country in the southeast of the city. Police and federal agents said that blast -- triggered along a street by a nearly invisible tripwire -- suggests a "higher level of sophistication" than they have seen before in three early package bombs left on doorsteps, and means the carnage is now random, rather than targeted at someone in particular.

The tripwire twist heightened fear around Austin, a town famous for its cool, hipster attitude. "It's creepy," said Erin Mays, 33. "I'm not a scared person, but this feels very next-door-neighbor kind of stuff."

Authorities repeated prior warnings about not touching unexpected packages and also issued new ones to be wary of any stray object left in public, especially ones with protruding wires.

"We're very concerned that with tripwires, a child could be walking down a sidewalk and hit something," Christopher Combs, FBI agent in charge of the bureau's San Antonio division, said in an interview.

Police originally pointed to possible hate crimes, but the victims have now been black, Hispanic and white and from different parts of the increasingly diverse city. Domestic terrorism is among the variety of possible motives investigators are looking at.

Local and state police and hundreds of federal agents are investigating, and the reward for information leading to an arrest has climbed to $115,000.

"We are clearly dealing with what we believe to be a serial bomber at this point," Austin police Chief Manley said, citing similarities among the four bombs. He would not elaborate, though, saying he didn't want to undermine the investigation.

While the first three bombings all occurred east of Interstate 35, a section of town that tends to be more heavily minority and less affluent, Sunday's was west of the highway. The differences in where the blasts have occurred, the lack of a motive and other unknowns make it harder to draw conclusions about a possible pattern, further unnerving a city on edge.

Thad Holt, 76, said he is now watching his steps as he makes his way through a section of town near the latest attack. "I think everybody can now say, 'Oh, that's like my neighborhood,'" he said.

The ATF's Milanowski said the latest bomb was anchored to a metal yard sign near the head of a hiking trail.

"It was a thin wire or filament, kind of like fishing line," he said. "It would have been very difficult for someone to see."

Milanowski said authorities have checked more than 500 leads. Police asked anyone with surveillance cameras at their homes to come forward with the footage on the chance it captured suspicious vehicles or people.

The White House said the federal government is doing "whatever is necessary" to apprehend whomever is responsible for the series of explosions in the city. Spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Fox News Channel that President Donald Trump is aware of the situation.

Two people are dead and four injured, and authorities don't appear closer to making any arrests in the four bombings.

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