Police chief calls Austin bomber ‘domestic terrorist’

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley declared the bomber who terrified residents of the Texas capital for weeks a “domestic terrorist” Thursday.

“This is a distinction I wanted to make today,” the interim police chief said at a panel discussion on reactions to the Austin bombings—including how the suspect was initially characterized by officials.

Manley said that what the bomber, Mark Conditt, “did to our community” amounted to domestic terrorism, after authorities hesitated to apply the label.

“I was so focused that we put a stop to it,” Manley said of his initial reaction to the bombings.

RELATED: Austin package bombing suspect blows himself up

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ROUND ROCK, TX - MARCH 21: Law enforcement officials search for evidence at the location where the suspected package bomber was killed in suburban Austin on March 21, 2018 in Round Rock, Texas. Mark Anthony Conditt, the 24-year-old suspect, blew himself up inside his vehicle as police approached to take him into custody. A massive search had been underway by local and federal law enforcement officials in Austin and the surrounding area after several package bombs had detonated in recent weeks, killing two people and injuring several others. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROUND ROCK, TX - MARCH 21: Law enforcement officials search for evidence at the location where the suspected package bomber was killed in suburban Austin on March 21, 2018 in Round Rock, Texas. Mark Anthony Conditt, the 24-year-old suspect, blew himself up inside his vehicle as police approached to take him into custody. A massive search had been underway by local and federal law enforcement officials in Austin and the surrounding area after several package bombs had detonated in recent weeks, killing two people and injuring several others. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROUND ROCK, TX - MARCH 21: Law enforcement officials search for evidence at the location where the suspected package bomber was killed in suburban Austin on March 21, 2018 in Round Rock, Texas. Mark Anthony Conditt, the 24-year-old suspect, blew himself up inside his vehicle as police approached to take him into custody. A massive search had been underway by local and federal law enforcement officials in Austin and the surrounding area after several package bombs had detonated in recent weeks, killing two people and injuring several others. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROUND ROCK, TX - MARCH 21: Law enforcement officials search for evidence at the location where the suspected package bomber was killed in suburban Austin on March 21, 2018 in Round Rock, Texas. Mark Anthony Conditt, the 24-year-old suspect, blew himself up inside his vehicle as police approached to take him into custody. A massive search had been underway by local and federal law enforcement officials in Austin and the surrounding area after several package bombs had detonated in recent weeks, killing two people and injuring several others. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROUND ROCK, TX - MARCH 21: Law enforcement officials search for evidence at the location where the suspected package bomber was killed in suburban Austin on March 21, 2018 in Round Rock, Texas. Mark Anthony Conditt, the 24-year-old suspect, blew himself up inside his vehicle as police approached to take him into custody. A massive search had been underway by local and federal law enforcement officials in Austin and the surrounding area after several package bombs had detonated in recent weeks, killing two people and injuring several others. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROUND ROCK, TX - MARCH 21: Law enforcement officials search for evidence at the location where the suspected package bomber was killed in suburban Austin on March 21, 2018 in Round Rock, Texas. Mark Anthony Conditt, the 24-year-old suspect, blew himself up inside his vehicle as police approached to take him into custody. A massive search had been underway by local and federal law enforcement officials in Austin and the surrounding area after several package bombs had detonated in recent weeks, killing two people and injuring several others. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROUND ROCK, TX - MARCH 21: Law enforcement officials search for evidence at the location where the suspected package bomber was killed in suburban Austin on March 21, 2018 in Round Rock, Texas. Mark Anthony Conditt, the 24-year-old suspect, blew himself up inside his vehicle as police approached to take him into custody. A massive search had been underway by local and federal law enforcement officials in Austin and the surrounding area after several package bombs had detonated in recent weeks, killing two people and injuring several others. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROUND ROCK, TX - MARCH 21: Law enforcement officials search for evidence at the location where the suspected package bomber was killed in suburban Austin on March 21, 2018 in Round Rock, Texas. Mark Anthony Conditt, the 24-year-old suspect, blew himself up inside his vehicle as police approached to take him into custody. A massive search had been underway by local and federal law enforcement officials in Austin and the surrounding area after several package bombs had detonated in recent weeks, killing two people and injuring several others. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROUND ROCK, TX - MARCH 21: Law enforcement officials search for evidence at the location where the suspected package bomber was killed in suburban Austin on March 21, 2018 in Round Rock, Texas. Mark Anthony Conditt, the 24-year-old suspect, blew himself up inside his vehicle as police approached to take him into custody. A massive search had been underway by local and federal law enforcement officials in Austin and the surrounding area after several package bombs had detonated in recent weeks, killing two people and injuring several others. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROUND ROCK, TX - MARCH 21: Law enforcement officials search for evidence at the location where the suspected package bomber was killed in suburban Austin on March 21, 2018 in Round Rock, Texas. Mark Anthony Conditt, the 24-year-old suspect, blew himself up inside his vehicle as police approached to take him into custody. A massive search had been underway by local and federal law enforcement officials in Austin and the surrounding area after several package bombs had detonated in recent weeks, killing two people and injuring several others. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROUND ROCK, TX - MARCH 21: Law enforcement officials search for evidence at the location where the suspected package bomber was killed in suburban Austin on March 21, 2018 in Round Rock, Texas. Mark Anthony Conditt, the 24-year-old suspect, blew himself up inside his vehicle as police approached to take him into custody. A massive search had been underway by local and federal law enforcement officials in Austin and the surrounding area after several package bombs had detonated in recent weeks, killing two people and injuring several others. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROUND ROCK, TX - MARCH 21: Law enforcement officials search for evidence at the location where the suspected package bomber was killed in suburban Austin on March 21, 2018 in Round Rock, Texas. Mark Anthony Conditt, the 24-year-old suspect, blew himself up inside his vehicle as police approached to take him into custody. A massive search had been underway by local and federal law enforcement officials in Austin and the surrounding area after several package bombs had detonated in recent weeks, killing two people and injuring several others. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Police officers investigate the scene where a suspected bomber blew himself up on March 21, 2018, in Round Rock, Texas, north of Austin. A 24-year-old white man suspected of being behind a series of deadly parcel bombings in the US state of Texas blew himself up Wednesday as authorities moved in to arrest him. Police said the suspect detonated a device in a car outside a hotel in the state capital Austin which has been gripped by fear since the attacks began nearly three weeks ago. / AFP PHOTO / SUZANNE CORDEIRO (Photo credit should read SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP/Getty Images)
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But he said he is now comfortable calling the string of deadly explosions acts of terrorism “for what it did to our community,” My Statesman reported.

Roughly 100 Austin residents—including relatives of Conditt’s victims— attended the panel discussion at the George Washington Carver Museum in East Austin, which addressed race relations in the city.

Zeke Prado, whose 75-year-old aunt, Esperanza Herrera, was critically injured by a package bomb on March 12, argued that Conditt should have been labelled a terrorist from the beginning.

“He terrorized the city of Austin,” Prado said, MyStatesman reported.

Austin Justice Coalition Leader Chas Moore said that Conditt, who is white, was portrayed as “troubled,” rather than a “terrorist,” because of his race.

“The way the media covered this story, this ‘troubled young man.’ Was the young man troubled? Absolutely. But he was a troubled young man that turned out to be a terrorist,” Moore said.

“Because he was white, we gave him the benefit of being a human first,” Moore said.

Conditt, 23, planted at least six bombs across Austin, causing weeks of panic and fear in the capital city.

He killed two people and wounded five more before killing himself.

He described himself as a remorseless “psychopath” an a recorded confession.

“I wish I were sorry, but I am not,” Conditt said in the cell phone recording.

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