Austin, Texas, Police Chief Brian Manley says suspected serial bomber Mark Conditt left behind a 25-minute cellphone video before killing himself as police moved in to arrest him.
Manley gave no details of what he considers to be Conditt’s confession.
“He does not mention anything about terrorism, nor does he mention anything about hate. But instead it is the outcry of a very challenged young man, talking about challenges in his personal life,” Manley said.
Authorities had warned there could still be bombs in the city, but by late Wednesday expressed confidence no more packages posed a threat to the public.
Police believe Conditt was behind the six bombs in and around Austin over the last three weeks, five of which exploded, killing two people and seriously wounding five others.
Conditt killed himself by setting off a seventh bomb in his car early Wednesday as police closed in to arrest him. One officer was knocked back from the car by the force of the blast.
Investigators were able to zero in on Conditt as their main suspect by monitoring store surveillance video, cellphone signals, and through witnesses who saw a strange-looking man wearing gloves and a blonde wig and carrying a box.
Congressman Michael McCaul, who represents the Austin area, said Conditt’s “fatal mistake” was visiting a Federal Express store to mail a package. It allowed authorities to obtain the surveillance video that showed him and his vehicle and its license plate.
Agents say they are certain bomb-making components found in Conditt’s house match those found in the bombs.
Fred Milanowski, an agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said “what we do know is we believe the same person built each one of these devices,” but it is “hard to say” if the suspect acted alone.
Investigators also say they want to find out how Conditt acquired the knowledge to successfully build such devices.
So far, they know little about the 23-year-old Conditt other than he was unemployed, a college dropout and had no criminal record. Federal prosecutors filed a criminal complaint before Conditt died charging him with one count of “unlawful possession and transfer of a destructive device.”
Neighbors say he was smart and polite and a “deep thinker.” But he condemned homosexuality on a social media blog and said gay marriage should be outlawed.
Conditt’s family issued a statement saying they are “devastated and broken” and offered “prayers for those families who have lost loved ones ... and for the soul of our Mark.”
Police have been investigating the bombings as possible hate crimes. The first three explosions killed two African-American men and left a 75-year-old Hispanic woman fighting for her life, although two white men were the victims in one of the last bombings.