Yet a third victim is a 75-year-old Hispanic woman, who remains critically injured.
It is still not clear how they might be tied to the third household where a similar package bomb also exploded.
Investigators have said the three blasts that killed two people and wounded two others could have been hate crimes since all the victims were black or Hispanic. But they also said they have not ruled out any possible motive.
Package bomb attack victim was college bound 17-year-old music prodigy, Draylen Mason
Draylen Mason, 17, was killed and his mother wounded when a package bomb was opened Monday in their kitchen. The teen’s grandfather is Norman Mason, a prominent dentist in east Austin.
The senior Mason is friends with Freddie Dixon, stepfather of 39-year-old Anthony House, who died in a similar attack in another part of the city on March 2, observed Nelson Linder, president of the Austin chapter of the NAACP.
“I don’t believe in coincidences,” Linder said, explaining that he was concerned by the fact that the families were acquainted.
Still unknown is what connection, if any, these two families had to a third household where a similar package bomb exploded Monday, wounding a 75-year-old Hispanic woman. She survived, but remains hospitalized in critical condition. She is yet to be identified.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said he was aware of the connection but did not know if would affect the case: “Our detectives are currently looking at that to evaluate that lead and to see if it is in fact relevant to what we are investigating,” Manley said.
Freddie Dixon is a leader of Austin’s African American Cultural Heritage District, or “Six Square,” which the city defines as 6 square miles of east Austin that was originally created as the Negro District by the Austin City Council in 1928.
He’s also was a longtime pastor at Wesley United Methodist Church, one of the city’s oldest historically black churches.
First package bomb attack victim: Anthony Stephan House who died in an explosion Mar 2. The experienced project manager, had previously worked as a Hedge fund manager. He shared a daughter with his School teacher wife
Dixon was quoted by the Austin American-Statesman in 2015 lamenting how Austin’s population growth and prosperity were effectively creating economic segregation by raising the cost of living.
“Austin is quickly becoming a city of the privileged and the non-privileged,” Dixon told the newspaper. “Is that the kind of Austin we want?”
Linder said Austin’s minority community is on edge following the bombings.
“Given the fact these people are people of color, that definitely gets people’s attention,” he said. “They feel vulnerable, and they should be based on the nature of the incidents.”
The FBI and other federal officials continue to assist in the investigation. Manley said, “We’re not saying that we believe terrorism or hate is in play, but we absolutely have to consider that because we don’t want to limit what we are investigating, what we are considering and how we are approaching this case.”
The package explosives were not delivered by the U.S. Postal Service or any private carrier but left overnight on doorsteps, with a yet to be deciphered distribution pattern.
The three explosions occurred in different parts of Austin. Monday’s first explosion happened at a home near the city’s Windsor Park neighborhood, about 12 miles from the site of the March 2 package bomb explosion that killed 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House.
Monday’s second explosion happened in the Montopolis neighborhood, about 5 miles south of the day’s first blast.
There’s nothing obvious linking the three neighborhoods, other than all were east of Interstate 35, which divides the city. The east side has historically been more heavily minority and less wealthy than Austin’s west side, although that has changed as gentrification has raised home prices and rents everywhere.
The blasts occurred during the South By Southwest music festival, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to Austin each March. But they happened far from the main events and concert venues.
Austin police are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. That is, in addition to the $50,000 that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, has already offered.