Police say 23-year-old Mark Conditt was the man who terrorized Austin with a weekslong bombing spree—but they don't know if they'll ever be able to say why. Police say a 25-minute recording found on Conditt's cellphone after he blew himself up early Wednesday contains a detailed description of seven explosive devices he built, but no suggestion that the bombings were hate crimes against any particular group or linked to any terrorist organizations. "I know everybody is interested in a motive and understanding why. And we're never going to be able to put a [rationale] behind these acts," Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told reporters Wednesday night, per CNN. Manley said the video was the "outcry of a very challenged young man talking about the challenges in his life." In other coverage:
- Pink gloves. Investigators trying to track down the bomber caught a major break when surveillance footage from a FedEx store showed a suspect wearing pink construction gloves, the New York Times reports in a look at the hunt for Conditt. After investigators discovered the gloves were sold at Home Depot, they spotted the same suspect in surveillance video from an Austin-area store. Conditt was already a suspect thanks to license plate and cellphone data.
- Praise for police. The FBI's special agent in charge of the San Antonio division praised the commitment of police to public safety, the Austin American-Statesman reports. After police tracking Conditt stopped his vehicle as he tried to drive away, "we literally had Austin police officers running towards a vehicle that had an explosive device in it. That detonated," Christopher Combs said. "That is unbelievable courage. Those are heroes."
- "Coming from nowhere." Conditt's uncle, Mike Courtney, says his nephew was a smart, kind "computer geek," the AP reports in a look at Conditt's background. "I mean, this is coming from nowhere. We just don't know what. I don't know how many ways to say it, but everyone is caught off guard by this," Courtney says. Conditt, the oldest of four home-schooled children, lived a few miles from his parents in the Austin suburb of Pflugerville.
- "Mostly forgettable." Pflugerville residents tell the Houston Chronicle that Conditt was a quiet, "mostly forgettable" young man brought up in a "very conservative" family that held religious get-togethers every Sunday. "It was a very 'us versus them' type of household," says a former colleague of Conditt's father. "I'm guessing that was a catalyst that led Mark to believe what he thought."
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