At first, Ohio native Taryn Gootee didn’t think twice about the explosion near her Austin, Texas, house.
“I kind of assumed it was maybe like a meth lab or something like that, because it wasn’t super publicized,” Gootee said. “Then it started getting really scary.”
On March 12, another two package bombs went off. One in the morning, another around noon.
And then last night, another explosion tore through a quiet Southwest Austin neighborhood, sending two men to the hospital with serious injuries and heightening worries that a serial package bomber is targeting the city’s residents.
Gootee, who grew up in Union and graduated from Northmont High School, shared her story in an interview with AM 1290 and News 95.7 WHIO’s Brittany Otto.
“Any time you’d go out to get a package from your front porch, it was scary,” she said. “We’re on edge every time we get a delivery. We all use Amazon all the time.”
Austin police said investigators believe Sunday night’s bomb was similar to the other bombs that exploded in Austin this month, but was activated by a trip wire – a development that authorities say indicates a higher level of sophistication and more danger because a trip wire isn’t targeting a specific person.
“Now it’s like even crazier,” Gootee said. “Now you can just be driving down the street and you can trip one of these things.”
Police said residents should not only avoid suspicious packages, bags or backpacks, but also avoid moving them because of the possibility of trip wires. Authorities say trip wires can detonate a bomb whenever any pressure is put on the wire by wither tripping over it or pulling on it.
“This is 100 percent real, it could affect any one of us,” Gootee said. “I didn’t expect to have to deal with something like this in Austin.”
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The Austin American-Statesman staff contributed reporting.