Family members of the man police suspect in a string of Texas bombings expressed horror and shock following his death early Wednesday during a police pursuit.
Mark Anthony Conditt, 24, who blew himself up when officers began chasing his car, was “from a family that is so tight, that works so hard to raise their children correctly,” his grandmother, Mary Conditt, told CNN from her home in Colorado.
“It’s just horrible,” she added.
In a statement released through a family friend, the Conditt family said they were shocked by “these heinous actions” and were cooperating with the police.
“The family is grieved not only for their loss but also for the loss of those affected by these heinous actions,” Eddie Harp read from a statement outside the Conditt home on Wednesday. “The family’s present focus is on dealing with their shock and loss and cooperating with the police investigation. If you are a praying person, please join us in praying for the families of all who have lost loved ones.”
An aunt, who also lives in Colorado, read a statement to CNN, saying relatives are “devastated and broken at the news that our family could be involved in such an awful way.”
“We had no idea of the darkness that Mark must have been in. Our family is a normal family in every way,” said the aunt, who gave her name as Shanee but declined to give her last name.
She added: “We love, we pray, and we try to inspire and serve others. Right now our prayers are for those families that have lost loved ones, for those impacted in any way, and for the soul of our Mark. We are grieving and we are in shock.”
Police say they suspect Conditt in a series of homemade bomb explosions in the Austin area this month, killing two people and injuring five.
The six bombings ― five in Austin and one at a FedEx center near San Antonio ― kept residents and law enforcers on high alert throughout the month. Austin police say they checked more than 1,200 reports of suspicious packages in recent weeks.
Officers were pursuing the suspect when he detonated an explosive device in his car, killing himself and injuring one officer, Austin police Chief Brian Manley said.
Law enforcement sources quickly identified the suspect as Conditt, who neighbors confirmed lived in the Austin suburb of Pflugerville.
Conditt was the oldest of four kids, with three younger sisters. Neighbors said he had moved out of his parents’ home, also in Pflugerville, a few years ago and got his own place. But he regularly visited and kept in contact with his family.
Conditt’s parents reportedly were unaware of their son’s involvement when news crews arrived outside their house around 5 a.m. Police arrived shortly thereafter.
Mark Roessler, who lives across from Conditt’s parents, told HuffPost he saw 10 agents with rifles take a man into custody around 9 a.m. Roessler, who said he had spoken several times with Conditt and his father and had toured the house, said he had never seen the man before.
Austin police Detective David Fugitt said Conditt’s relatives were helping with the investigation.
“This family has been very cooperative and has gone above and beyond to answer any questions,” Fugitt told KVUE.
Gov. Greg Abbott (R) told Fox News Wednesday morning that authorities still hadn’t determined the motive.
“We’re trying to piece together why is it that someone like this would go on this effort,” Abbott said. “We don’t know if it was a political manifesto, or some other anger about some people or whether he really just wanted to stoke terrorism.”
This story has been updated with the Conditt family’s statement.