Alleged Austin serial bomber Mark Anthony Conditt was “a deep thinker” who came from a tight family that home-schooled him, people who knew him told CNN on Wednesday.
Conditt killed himself early Wednesday after police, who had been staking out his hotel, followed him onto Interstate 35. After a short time, authorities said, Conditt pulled into a ditch and detonated an explosive device as Austin Police Department SWAT team members approached his car.
That he could be a skilled bombmaker responsible for at least six explosive devices, five of which detonated, over an almost three-week period in Austin and outside San Antonio seemed unthinkable to his grandmother, she said, adding that he was a quiet, kind and loving person and she’d never seen any signs of malice or violence in him.
“Oh my gosh, no,” Mary Conditt said, speaking on the phone from Colorado. “If anything he’s low-key and peaceful.”
Here’s what else we know about the man accused of the deadly explosions:
He came from a tight family, grandmother says
“He’s from a family that is so tight, that works so hard to raise their children correctly. It’s just horrible,” Mary Conditt said.
She added that Mark Conditt had finished his home-schooling and was now “looking forward to figuring out what most kids are — figuring out his life and visiting his family and being close to them.”
Jeff Reeb, who lives near Mark Conditt’s parents in Pflugerville, Texas, north of Austin, said he saw the accused serial bomber a week or two ago. Reeb’s grandkids used to play with Mark, he said, describing Mark Conditt as a normal kid who was a little quiet.
His race and age
Mark Conditt is a 24-year-old white man, according to Austin Police Chief Brian Manley.
Though surveillance photos show him wearing a baseball cap with long blond hair coming out of it as he dropped off packages in in a mail delivery office in Sunset Valley, southwest of Austin, a Facebook photo shows Conditt with short, dark hair. Police confirmed that the man seen in the surveillance photos is Conditt.
He attended a local college
Conditt attended Austin Community College from 2010 to 2012 but did not graduate, according to school records, said spokeswoman Jessica Vess. He has not attended any classes since 2012, she said.
His motive is still unknown
Police said Conditt is responsible for the bombings in Austin, but they are still investigating why he carried them out.
How did police find him?
In the past 24 to 36 hours, authorities received information that led them to a person of interest, who later became a suspect.
They later identified the suspect’s car and spotted it Wednesday night at a hotel in Round Rock, Texas, a few miles north of Austin.
As officers waited for tactical units to arrive on the scene, Conditt began to drive away and later stopped on the side of the road.
It was then that SWAT officers approached the vehicle and the man detonated a bomb inside his car, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said.
The suspect died inside the vehicle.
Did he act alone?
It’s unclear if he had any accomplices. It appears that he was alone when he drove away from the hotel in Round Rock and when he detonated a device in his car.