Austin Explosions: Possible Hate Crime?

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(NBC NEWS) A combined reward of $65,000 is now being offered for any information leading to an arrest in the deadly bombings in Austin, Texas.

In a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said investigators are still not ruling out terrorism or the possibility these cases were hate crimes.

“We are just not going to ignore the fact that the three victims that were targeted specifically, that we know of, were people of color. We cannot ignore that. That is something we have to pay attention to. That does not indicate it’s a hate crime, but we are not going to rule that out,” says Manley.

The 17-year-old who died Monday morning was identified as Draylen Mason. His mother remains hospitalized in stable condition.

The 75-year-old Hispanic woman who was injured in Monday’s second bombing remains in critical condition.

“We have lost two lives in this community – and we have an additional two that have been forever changed,” says Manley.

Manley also gave some insight into the Austin Police Department’s working theory when the first bombing on March 2 killed Anthony Stephan House in northeast Austin. Three days prior to the bombing, police had conducted a large raid at a home on the same street.

“We believed this had been a retaliatory act on that house and [the suspects] simply got the wrong house. That was our initial theory,” says Manley. The chief says that was their working theory since House’s home and the home where the raid happened looked similar and also had similar vehicles.

“We didn’t stop at that, however. The very next day we put tips out. We put out an alert about what to look for about packages,” explains Manley.

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