Austin bomber may have benefited from EMS-police communication mishap, officials say

Addressing a communication breakdown that may have tipped off the Austin, Texas, bomber last month, emergency medical personnel on Tuesday announced changes in how they'll work with local police.

The suspected communication mishap occurred March 20, the day before authorities closed in on Mark Conditt, who blew himself up after attacks that left two people dead and several others injured.

Officials said two medics from the Pflugerville, Texas, Fire Department knocked on the door of Conditt’s home, despite a team of officers staking out the site, waiting to arrest him, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

The medics were supposed be on standby in case something went wrong, as cops planned to approach the home around 4 p.m. that day, when the suspect was supposed to return home, the newspaper reported.

Instead, a roommate of Conditt answered the door and told the medics no one needed assistance in the house.

Police were irate that the medics had compromised their surveillance work, according to the paper.

EMS officials said they have established a new system when it comes to working with officers during sensitive arrests and searches to avoid another misstep.

Meanwhile, interim Austin police Chief Brian Manley told FOX 7 on Tuesday that in hindsight, he regretted having called the bomber “a challenged young man” and apologized for a member of his team making public comments claiming the first bombing victim may have created and accidentally detonated the device himself.

“Those were comments that, if you have to investigate something, fine, but that's just not something that you put out publicly,” Manley said.

The interim chief praised the works of his officers, and all the agencies that assisted in what he said “was the most complex case” of his career.

“The partnership amongst the agencies that may not always get along was tremendous. Egos were left at the door, titles were left at the door, agencies were left at the door and everybody worked together to keep Austin safe,” he said.

There are no additional suspects or persons of interest in the case, the interim chief said, noting interviews will be conducted if investigators find it necessary.