“Exotic” batteries ordered online helped lead authorities to the Austin, Texas, bombing suspect before he died early Wednesday as police closed in, multiple senior law enforcement officials told NBC News.
Austin police and federal agents had been working around the clock with 350 agents to track down the 24-year-old bombing suspect. Police did not name the bomber, but two law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation identified him to NBC News as Mark Anthony Conditt.
The unusual batteries used in the explosives were the signature trait that allowed investigators to so quickly link the various explosions to the same man, sources said. One senior law enforcement official said the batteries came from Asia.
“These weren’t your store-bought Duracells,” one official said.
Conditt, the suspect in a spate of bombings that terrorized Austin, died early Wednesday after detonating an explosive inside his vehicle as a SWAT team tried to apprehend him on the side of a highway, officials said. Early Wednesday, police tracked Conditt’s vehicle until he pulled over on Interstate 35 and “the suspect detonated a bomb inside the vehicle, knocking one of our SWAT officers back,” Manley said, adding that the officer sustained minor injuries.
A 2012 blog, which appears to be part of a government class project at Austin Community College, lists the author as Mark Conditt of Pflugerville, Texas. Conditt is believed to have been a resident of Pflugerville, north of Austin. The blog espouses political beliefs, including entries describing why the author believes gay marriage should not be legalized and why the United States should do away with sex offender registration.
“I am not that politically inclined. I view myself as a conservative, but I don’t think I have enough information to defend my stance as well as it should be defended,” a description of the author reads. “The reasons I am taking this class is because I want to understand the US government, and I hope that it will help me clarify my stance, and then defend it.”
Jeff Reeb, a neighbor of the Conditt family, said the 24-year-old was “a very normal kid” and that the family is “extremely nice.”