Cops: Austin Goodwill Blast Caused by Military Device

Police believe incident is unrelated to bombings
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2018 1:08 AM CDT
Cops: Latest Austin Blast Unrelated to Others
Texas troopers help redirect traffic near the site of another explosion on Tuesday in Austin, Texas.   (Jan Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

A blast that injured a Goodwill worker in Austin Tuesday night appears to be unrelated to the series of deadly explosions that has shaken the city, police say. Assistant Police Chief Ely Reyes says the scare was caused by a military training device that somebody had included in a box of donated items, the Austin American-Statesman reports. Reyes says the artillery simulator, which simulates the sound of battlefield explosions, went off in the hand of a Goodwill employee. The worker was treated at a south Austin hospital and released after a couple of hours. "We have no reason to believe this is an attempt at a copycat," Reyes says. The blast and a nearby car fire caused the evacuation of businesses in the area.

Police say that military items, including ammunition, are sometimes donated to Goodwill by relatives who don't know what they are, the AP reports. "We get all sorts of crazy donations," a Goodwill spokeswoman says. "People bring us everything from prosthetic legs to a human skull one year, so this isn't out of the ordinary as far as strange donations." But "in this town, if an incendiary device goes off, everybody just scatters and panics," Goodwill Texas CEO Gary Davis said at the scene. "We're all on edge." Earlier Tuesday, a device that police believe is linked to the earlier bombings exploded at a FedEx shipping center. (More Austin stories.)

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