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tv   Nightline  ABC  March 14, 2019 12:37am-1:07am PDT

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♪ [cheers and applause] and applause] rs and applause] nd applause] rs and applause] and applause] . tonight. >> something exploded or something. there's blood everywhere. we need an ambulance immediately. >> a serial bomber on the loose. >> how many more bombs are sitting on somebody's front step right now. >> inside the hunt for the austin bomber. unprecedented access to body footage. what law enforcement found at this home depot to track down the suspect. >> i got goose bumps. i knew. i knew this is something good. >> and the heart-stopping final moments. >> we had to stop him that night. >> got an explosion. got an explosion inside the vehicle. >> six bombs. two dead, 19 days of terror. "nightline" will be right back. back. right back.
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this special edition of "nightline," 19 days of terror, continues. here now, matt gutman. >> my neighbor, something exploded. blood everywhere. >> exploded in the house. >> been an explosion at the real estate sign. >> reporter: for 19 days, a bomber held the city of austin in a state of terror. >> how many more bombs are sitting on somebody as step
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right now. >> reporter: killing two, wounding others. we take you inside the hunt for one of the most prolific bombers in american history. >> in the history of this country, we haven't had a bomber that planted this many bombs in a 19-day period. >> you are racing the clock. >> reporter: on the ground and at the scenes with the austin police. >> it's a tripwire. >> reporter: the bomb squad. >> fire in the hole! >> reporter: and with unprecedented access to the top law enforcement agencies. >> we have a serial bomber. we need to set up a national command post here. >> reporter: from the atf agents and the fbi. >> the bomber's car was over this hedge row. >> reporter: revealing new and never-before-seen details about how they pieced it together, and it all came down to this home depot footage that brought them to that truck. and the specialist who identified the man who eluded
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them. >> i got to about the seventh name, and it was the bomber's name. >> reporter: and we're inside the final moments. one final chase. >> i told them, whatever you do, you've got to stop him before he gets on the interstate. >> reporter: austin, texas. a colorful capital city, known for live music and barbecue. >> there's a hot lot of good th going for austin, the live music capital of the world, a vibrant nightlife. most people feel safe about the city. >> reporter: but that sense of security would be shattered on march 2nd, 2018. >> breaking news in northeast austin. one person is in the hospital after an explosion at a home. >> 911, do you need -- >> hey, i don't know what's going on. my neighbor, something exploded or something. there's blood everywhere. we need an ambulance immediately. >> reporter: 39-year-old anthony stephan house opened a package left outside his door, unknowingly detonating a bomb.
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>> stephan. >> is he breathing? >> reporter: police racing to the scene, and for the bomb squad, it would be the first time they have dealt with a real bomb. >> after we were there a few minutes we realized we had a victim and the type of injuries the victim had sanustained we realized we had some type of bombing. >> there's no information now to believe this is anything but an isolated incident. >> reporter: murder that brought in deeps from tteams from thetet but everyone seemed to agree this was a one-of. >> everybody believed this was one fatal bombing. >> reporter: it was already a busy time of year. in a week, the south by southwest festival would begin. as seen in these promotional videos, over 400,000 people would pour into america's 11th largest city. them on march is 12th.
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>> my grandson is hurt, my daughter is hurt. please hurry. >> they're on the way. >> they opened a package from outside and it exploded in the house. >> reporter: another exploded, killing draylen mason injuring his mom. >> as we go in and start processing that scene, that's when the third device functions. >> reporter: another explosion would send bomb technicians scrambling. >> when i heard the bomb squad commander say we have another device. i thought, in the united states? this normally is what we see happening overseas. >> reporter: you must have been thinking, are we under attack? what is happening here? >> yeah. >> hey, guys, back away, back away. it might be a bomb. so back off a little bit, okay? >> reporter: that third bombing severely wounding esperanza herrera. >> the third scene is when i looked at the chief and said we have a serial bomber. we need to set up a national
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command post here. >> everybody ready? it is important that everybody be vigilant and be aware for things that look suspicious. if you have had a package show up at your home and were you not expecting a delivery. if the package that was delivered to your doorstep looks suspicious in any way, call 911, report it. >> reporter: six days later, no suspects would be named and the city remained on edge. the chief giving another presser, this time speaking directly to the bomber. >> we hope this person or persons is watching and will reach out to us before anyone else is injured or anyone else is killed out of this event. >> reporter: hours later, the bomber would seemingly respond. >> there's been an explosion at the real estate sign. >> reporter: an explosive triggered by a tripwire. and when detonated, it injured two men. the device concealed by a red sign. >> i walked over kind of towards
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this area. i don't remember exactly, but i know it was pretty close to here. and there was a bicycle in the middle of the street, and these two young men were right here on the sidewalk. >> reporter: officer seth modal was among the first on the scene. >> look at them, look at the fence and realized i was looking at shrapnel. ly i had to start thinking like i was a soldier again in iraq and realized this was a bomb. i started walking slowly and shined my flashlight just looking and started doing what a soldier would do, and i was like, there's got to be something here. >> it's a tripwire. >> the device was placed on the ground. and he covered the device with the sign to conceal it somewhat. the tripwire ran across the sidewalk here and was probably only about three inches off the ground. and it was anchored to a metal
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stake, somewhere around this location. >> this entire wall was just covered with pockmarks from the shrapnel that was propelled from the device. >> it's a tough message to deliver to the community. you're telling them, be concerned about anything. i can't give you a description of what that is. but, if you see anything that looks out of place, you need to call us. we want everyone within a half-mile radius of this intersection of dawn song drive and republic of texas back here in travis country to say inside your homes until we have had a chance to deem this neighborhood safe. >> reporter: a tripwire, a technique typically used in war zones told them that the bomber was growing in cunning and confidence. are you thinking to some degree that this is a signal to you that he is toying with you? >> i think it was a signal. we also were very concerned because of the change in the bomb, the sophistication of the
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bomb, which now led us back to thinking could this be a terrorist? >> we had people of interest throughout this investigation and that the night of the tripwire device we knew where those people were and they were nowhere near that. unfortunately, the morning we started processing that scene we were at square one. >> breaking news, a package exploding at a fedex facility. >> reporter: then march 19th a fifth explosion, this inside a fedex sorting facility outside of san antonio. that injured one employee. >> nails. metals. >> that elevated our concerns tremendously, because now you're shipping something. and before, we knew they were placed. >> reporter: meaning it coul i >> and we didn't know how many. >> reporter: it was the bomber's third method of delivery. and police had just received their first big break. >> we found out subject mailed two packages, one of which was
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in austin. i called the fedex facility in austin, described the package to the manage earn and on the dock for delivery. i said it is a live explosive device, evacuate the building and call the bomb squad. >> reporter: by dawn the bomb squad had arrived on the scene. >> we immediately sent one of the robots inside, looked at the package, get the tracking numbers off of it and see that yes, this was it. >> reporter: the package had been marked for delivery that same day. the tracking number leading the authorities to this fedex store. >> he was wearing a disguise when he walked into the fedex, and he was wearing gloves. fedex employee b got in a red, ford ranger. >> reporter: they contacted the home depot where they believe he may have purchased supplies.
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one division works with enfoursme enfoursment form those types of situations. >> we were able to generate the one receipt purchased here in round rock. >> reporter: after scouring hours of surveillance footage, they found him. >> when he walked in the building he asked the door completer some questions. kind of asked him where certain items were. >> reporter: he purchased a red sign like this reading drive like your kids live here, used in the tripwire explosion and gloves he would use to those packages at fedex. a team of analysts immediately started searching for the person who purchased those supplies and owned that red truck. >> i was systematically going through each name and looking at what kind of vehicle would this person have. i got to about the seventh name. it was the bomber's name. and i conducted a search. find out what kind of vehicle he
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had. it was exactly the vehicle that we were looking for. >> reporter: you're taking the information in real time and actually basically finding the suspect. >> yes. which is why it was a heart-stopping moment, and i got kboos bumps. goose bumps, i knew i had something good. >> reporter: it was already late. >> we decided we going to hold and execute that warrant at sunup without making any further notice. >> reporter: you never did get to sunup, did you? >> we didn't. >> reporter: next, the hunt for the bomber intensifies. >> i told them, whatever you do, you've bot to stop him before he gets on the interstate. >> got an explosion. got an explosion. >> reporter: stay with us.
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(music throughout)
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this special edition of "nightline," 19 days of terror continues. here again, matt gutman. >> reporter: a year ago, austin was a city on edge. >> the hunt for a suspected serial bomber tonight, striking fear yet again in austin. >> reporter: over the course of 19 days, an elusive bomber dangled the state capital on a string. >> we are clearly dealing with what we expect to be a serial bomber at this point. >> reporter: but through pains taking work they have identified a suspect, 23-year-old mark condit. >> i was in the command post. the surveillance team reported, we've got him. >> reporter: the bomber had gone dark, but after briefly turning on his cell phone they were able it to ping his location, tracking him to this hotel parking lot in a suburb north of austin. >> the bomber's car was directly over this hedgerow in this
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corner parking spot. i was in that space facing south. i darked out my lights. i could see the bomb are's vehic vehicle from an oblique ankle. >> reporter: down the street members of the s.w.a.t. team were staged in a nearby parking lot. >> we had information he was inside the vehicle that was parked. he didn't care who he hurt or killed that night. we had to stop him that night. >> do you know if the fbi's working this area at the same time? >> we can't spook him. >>ly >> i had an eerie feeling it wasn't going to end well. >> i backed out and proceeded in behind him as well apd squad had the vehicles behind him following him out. >> taking a right turn southbound. >> he proceeded south on the service road, it turned out to go to the frontage road of i-35. >> 35 frontage and stopped right
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now. >> we had quite a few people pull up behind him. if you look at the videotape, you see a pretty big train. at that point, the guy knew. >> reporter: the s.w.a.t. team had one shot, one final chase. >> the idea was we needed to hit his van hard enough to try to disable his vehicle. >> one of our biggest fears is on impact it was going to explode. so i told them, whatever you do, you've got to stop him before he gets on the interstate. >> all right, van's made contact with him. van's made contact with him. >> so we exit our van and move up to the vehicle, and he detonates an explosive device inside his vehicle. >> got an explosion, got an explosion inside the vehicle. >> initially, i saw the flash, and i felt shrapnel or debris or whatever hit my face. and i stepped back. >> i was one of the first up to the windshield area and could see inside. i quickly recognized that our suspect was no longer a threat
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at that point. >> i can't even describe to you how bad it felt listening to the radio traffic. i remember distinctly going to a different radio channel to advise dispatch. >> shot taken. suspect's down. >> i'm really lucky that i didn't lose anybody. >> reporter: after 19 days, the bomber's grip on the city of austin was over. >> the suspect is deceased. >> but no high-fives yet, right? >> no. we knew that we had to hit that house the next morning. >> reporter: it's on this quiet cul-de-sac that mark condit lived. he and his father purchased this house, fixed it up and rented it out. but it was in a room in the back that condit lived and stockpiled enough weapons materials to blow up the entire block and it was there that he master minded that bombing spree. >> he had the capability to build much bigger devices. >> reporter: do you know what triggered him? >> i'd love to know why. the reality is there's no answer and no reason that could ever
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make any of this okay. >> we have nothing that gives us indication that he intentionally targeted these individuals. >> reporter: nothing specific seemed to influence the man's decision to kill. >> our law enforcement partners have reviewed all the evidence and have found no evidence of links to hate group or terrorist group, no evidence of being influenced by any recognized ideology. it may be a mystery what was internally motivating him. >> reporter: authorities say they still have no motive. the bomber did leave behind a 25-minute manifesto he recorded on his poen. >> he talked about if i think they know who i really am i'll walk into a crowd in mcdonald's and blow up everyone with this last bomb in my pocket. >> reporter: did he ever express remorse, ever say he was sorry in. >> in fact he purposely says he has no remorse. there was no mention of terrorism, hate crime. he says he's a psychopath and
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likes killing people. >> reporter: although excerpts have been reported they plan to keep that recording under seal. >> what should be remembered is the victims and first responders that risked their life. >> reporter: up next, austin one year later. you inspire us. the way you triumph over adversity. and live your lives. that's why we redesigned humira. we wanted to make the experience better for you. now there's less pain immediately following injection. we've reduced the size of the needle and removed the citrate buffers. and it has the same effectiveness you know and trust. humira citrate-free is here. a little change can make a big difference. humira can lower your ability to fight infections. serious and sometimes fatal infections, including tuberculosis, and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened, as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain
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a year later, the city of austin is still healing. victims' families still left with the shockwaves of pain. >> i don't believe that this has actually happened and we've lost someone truly special. >> clinging to memories and old photos. >> she was 3. it reminds me of how he loved her. >> i feel like i'm walking in a fog. i miss him so much. >> as loved ones continue to mourn the lives lost, austin is still pondering the demented actions of one man as they return to breathing again.
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