Austin police investigated a suspicious package at a FedEx Ground facility in Austin Tuesday, after an explosion at a FedEx sorting facility in the town of Schertz. The city is on high alert after four package explosions in three weeks.
The facility, at 4117 McKinney Falls Parkway, is near the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Officers were called to the scene at 6:19 a.m.
FedEx released a statement saying the second package at the southeast Austin facility was secured and turned over to law enforcement.
“We have provided law enforcement responsible for this investigation extensive evidence related to these packages and the individual that shipped them collected from our advanced technology security systems,” FedEx tweeted.
Deputies from the Travis County Sheriff’s Office responded, along with members of the Austin Fire Department and Austin-Travis County EMS.
FedEx employees evacuated and some were told to go home after a meeting with managers. It’s not known how many were working at the time.
KXAN’s Kylie McGivern spoke to a FedEx employee at the McKinney Falls Parkway location, who said it was a pretty crazy day. “FedEx, please be careful with the packages. Check them very carefully, cause there’s a lot of employees here that depend on you guys,” package handler Bryan Jaimes said.
He said, “It’s just scary because if it blows up here, it blows up the whole facility and most of these guys have kids, family and they leave that all behind.”
At 9 a.m., a FedEx Office Print and Ship Center at 5601 Brodie Ln. in south Austin was surrounded by authorities. An automated message that said the location was closed for the day and the store was roped off with crime scene tape.
A Sunset Valley police officer at the scene said the package that exploded at the Schertz facility was shipped from the Brodie Lane location. Sunset Valley police says it started assisting the FBI around 6:30 a.m. by providing perimeter security as it investigates.
Tuesday morning Chief Manley addressed the Austin City Council to give them an update on the Austin bombings. He said that the specific components in the devices make investigators believe they are all related. They are holding back on sharing specific things about the packages that only the bomber may know.
Inside the Facility
One employee, who asked not to be named, said they didn’t receive warnings about packages at their facilities because previous bombs in Austin were left overnight and not sent through official delivery systems.
“When the boxes come down the belts or the sorters sort them out, you can’t tell if it’s an explosive box,” the employee said. “There’s no way to tell at all.”
The intersection of McKinney Falls Parkway and Burleson Road has re-opened to traffic, but entrances and exits to the FedEx facility are blocked off. FedEx drivers were gathered outside waiting to get into work told KXAN’s Wes Rapaport the facility processes between 20,000 to 30,000 packages a day, and each driver will deliver between 200 and 300 packages a day.
Around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday a package bomb went off at a FedEx Ground facility in Schertz, Texas, about 75 miles southwest of Austin. Officials say that package was bound for Austin. This comes in the wake of four package bombings in Austin in the past three weeks, in which two people have died and four people have been hurt.