The Austin serial bombings—which terrorized the Texas capital throughout much of March—were a case of domestic terrorism, Interim Police Chief Brian Manley said Thursday morning.
According to The Austin American-Statesman, Chief Manley made the comment at George Washington Carver Museum during a KUT-hosted panel discussion. Joined by several community activists and leaders, conversations focused on the influence race has in deeming people or acts as terrorist.
“When I look at what he did to our community,” the police chief said. “I actually agree now that he was a domestic terrorist.”
Mark Conditt, 23, of Pflugerville, is believed to have planted or mailed multiple package bombs that killed two and injured several others. The 23-year-old reportedly blew himself up on March 21 as police closed in.
According to The Washington Post, Manley was previously the center of controversy after characterizing Conditt as a “challenged young man” and failing to call him a terrorist. While the police chief has mentioned that the suspect claimed to have no political or racial motivations in a taped confession, the incident sparked an ongoing debate about how society defines terrorism.
— Mary Huber (@marymhuber) March 29, 2018
Manley reportedly doubled down on his earlier comments hours later during a Thursday afternoon press conference.
“I am now believing and comfortable saying that this was a domestic terrorist, based on what he did to our community,” he said, according to NBC News.
Manley also claimed that police were initially careful about using the words “terrorism” or “terrorist” as the two terms are defined under federal law and because the suspect could’ve been apprehended alive, the network reported.
“And in a press conference that I held announcing the conclusion of the case I used a word to describe him that I understand was very concerning to members of this community,” Manley said, likely referring to his “challenged young man” comment.
“And I did not use that word in an attempt to minimize what he had done, or in an attempt to justify what he had done. I just was describing what I heard him state on the tape about how he felt about things.”
[Feature image: Mark Conditt/Facebook]