The suspect in the series of deadly package bombs in Austin, Texas, has been identified as a Christian who was homeschooled and advocated for socially conservative views.
Mark Anthony Conditt, 23, an unemployed resident of Pflugerville, is believed to have been behind the bombings. He killed himself with an explosive device in his car Wednesday as a SWAT team closed in after police pulled him over on Interstate 35.
A friend of Conditt who was close to him in 2012 and 2013, told the Austin American-Statesman that the suspected bomber regularly attended worship services and Bible study at Austin Stone Community Church.
“I know faith was a serious thing for him,” recalled the friend to the Statesman. “I don’t know if he held onto his faith or not. … The kind of anger that he expressed and the kind of hate that he succumbed to — that’s not what he believed in in high school. I don’t know what happened along the way. This wasn’t him.”
Conditt, was homeschooled before he enrolled at Austin Community College from 2010–2012, but did not graduate from the academic institution.
The Statesman also found that while he was enrolled at the college, Conditt wrote a series of political blog posts for a government course in which he expressed socially conservative views, including opposition to abortion and gay marriage.
“First, if a women does not want a baby, or is incapable of taking care of one, she should not participate in activities that were made for that reason. Second, if we are going to give women free abortions, why not give men free condoms,” wrote Conditt, as quoted by the Statesman.
“Just look at the male and female bodies. They are obviously designed to couple. The natural design is apparent. It is not natural to couple male with male and female with female.”
Residents in Austin have been on alert after four attacks using bombs in packages across the city over the last three weeks left two dead and several injured.
On Sunday, two people were injured by a device believed to have used a tripwire. “The first attack on March 2 killed Stephan House, 39. Ten days later, Draylen Mason, 17, was killed in an explosion that also critically injured his mother. And a separate attack that day critically injured a 75-year-old Hispanic woman,” NBC News reports.
Then, on Tuesday, a FedEx worker in Schertz was injured when the parcel went off just after midnight, officials said.
Authorities suspected Conditt was the bomber and through cell phone tracking were able to locate him. By Wednesday they closed in on him only for the suspected bomber to blow himself up.
Although Conditt is deceased, authorities have warned Austin residents to be vigilant, since there is the possibility that undetonated package bombs remain elsewhere.
Authorities have not yet determined a motive for the bombing attacks.