The African-American roommate of the man who killed two Black people with bombs in Austin was “forcibly” taken into custody by SWAT officers Tuesday night for questioning, the roommate’s mother told The Associated Press.
Collin Thomas, 26, was handcuffed and held overnight until suspect Mark Anthony Conditt, 23, killed himself during a police pursuit in Round Rock, Texas on Wednesday. Thomas’ family was not notified of his whereabouts, Jennifer Withers, Thomas’ mother, said to the AP Thursday.
Thomas, who lived in the home north of Austin with the suspect for more than three months, was eventually released, the report said.
An unidentified third person also lived in the home and was taken into police custody as well, but was released, police said, on Thursday. The person was not under arrest, cops added. Both Thomas and the second roommate were not charged, Austin police spokeswoman Anna Sabana said.
Conditt had constructed and planted bombs in several parts of Austin that killed two African-American men and wounded four others over three weeks, beginning on March 2. Anthony Stephan House, a 29-year-old father and husband, and Draylen Mason, a 17-year-old bassist, were killed.
Police caught the suspect after using store surveillance video, cellphone signals and witness accounts at a Fed EX store, where he sent packages. A device that was shipped via FedEx and was addressed to an employee at a downtown Austin spa was intercepted at a processing center without exploding, the Austin American-Statesman reported Thursday.
Conditt made a chilling 25-minute cellphone recording confession before he committed suicide by detonating one of his own bombs. The specific motive for his heinous acts, called possible “hate crimes,” is still unknown, police said. The recording will not be publicly released because of the ongoing police investigation, cops added.
NAACP Austin President Nelson Linder said the manhunt’s end provided relief, but answers are still needed about Conditt’s motives, including whether the first two victims were targeted because they belonged to prominent Black families.
“I don’t think it’s random at this point,” Linder said. “We’re going to withhold our judgment and keep searching for information and why he killed those people.”