The Austin, Texas, bombings that killed two and injured four during the week-long SXSW Conference & Festivals in March ended when 23-year-old Pflugerville resident Mark Conditt blew himself up in his car while police approached, killing himself. But two of Conditt’s roommates recently revealed that before he died he had used a gay hookup app to exchange messages with other gay men. The revelation suggests the Austin bomber might’ve been struggling with his sexuality before he became a domestic terrorist targeting people of color.
Austin police questioned the two roommates who lived with Conditt in a house purchased by Conditt’s father. They say he regularly kept his bedroom door closed, evading their questions about why. Forensic evidence searches uncovered that Conditt had exchanged messages with gay men via a gay app, a surprising revelation considering his 2012 internet post stating “Homosexuality is not natural” and comparing it to pedophilia and bestiality.
Sierra Jane Davis, a transgender person from nearby Pflugerville, says she knew Conditt while growing up in the small Texas city (population 59,245). Davis and Conditt had both been home-schooled during their youth. She says Conditt grew up in a very religious Christian family that probably wouldn’t have been accepting of homosexuality.
When she came out as trans to Conditt, Davis says he disapproved and said “he couldn’t support my decision to live this life.”
After leaving his family’s home, Conditt later declared himself an atheist.
Police also listened to a 28-minute confession Conditt recorded before killing himself in which he nether explained his reasons for the bombings nor expressed any empathy for his victims. He reportedly ended the tape saying, “I wish I were sorry, but I am not.”
Though police have reportedly ruled out racially motivated hate or links to international terrorism as motives for Conditt’s bombings, his bombs were placed in East Austin’s predominantly black and Latinx neighborhoods.
Conditt’s bombs killed Anthony Stephan House, a black 39-year-old construction worker; Draylen Mason, a 17-year-old black high school musician; and injured Mason’s mother, a 75-year-old Latinx woman, and two bicycle riders.
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