Federal authorities and local police are investigating the death of a man as a possible homicide after an explosion they said was caused by “some type of device” rocked a Northeast Austin neighborhood Friday morning.
During a news conference Friday, Austin interim Police Chief Brian Manley said that dispatchers started receiving calls at 6:55 a.m. about the explosion, as well as reports that a person was injured. Medics arrived at the house in the 1100 block of Haverford Drive shortly after and took a man believed to be in his 40s to St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center, where he later died from his injuries, police said.
The man was on his front porch when he was found, and no one else was reported injured, authorities said.
Manley said police determined the explosion was caused by “some type of device” and had caused the man’s death. He did not provide further details, citing the ongoing investigation.
“Based on what we know right now, we have no reason to believe this is anything beyond an isolated incident that took place at this residence, and no reason to believe this is in any way linked to a terrorist act,” Manley said. “But we are not making any assumptions. We are conducting a thorough investigation to rule that out.”
Multiple agencies responded to the scene, including the Austin police bomb squad, the Austin Fire Department, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and postal inspectors.
“It is going to take us quite a while here today to work through this scene, to do the post-blast analysis, as well as to do an investigation into the death that occurred here today,” Manley said. “We are in the very early stages of this investigation.”
FBI agents were going door-to-door in the neighborhood Friday morning interviewing residents who live in the area around Haverford Drive near Parmer Lane.
Neighbors described waking up Friday morning to a loud sound like a firework, which Monica Sledge said rattled the windows of her home as she played with her 2-year-old son.
“It made me really nervous and scared,” Sledge said. “My son said something about thunder. But I knew it wasn’t thunder.”
Erin Norelius, who lives around the corner from where the blast occurred, said she was shocked to hear that a man had died as a result of the explosion. “It’s devastating,” she said. “A lot of people, especially around the house, it’s going to feel unsafe for a little while.”