Congressional Black Caucus members want the bombings in Austin, Texas, to be classified as “terrorist attacks” — and are calling on officials to determine whether they are “ideologically or racially motivated.”
While the two young men injured in the most recent blast are both white, all of the other victims have been either black or Hispanic.
“We cannot stand idly by while our communities are under attack,” reads a statement from the concerned Black Caucus members — which include Chairman Cedric Richmond, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and Homeland Security Committee Ranking Democrat Bennie Thompson, of Mississippi.
“The community impacted is now under virtual house arrest and the entire city is posed to be in a state of fear — which can easily transition into panic,” the statement says. “This has become a national security issue and the full investigative force of the federal government must be focused on stopping these attacks.”
The group specifically calls on Congressional leaders to join them in “insisting that Members of Congress be briefed on these heinous acts by the federal Bureau of Investigation before Congress adjourns on Thursday.”
“We also call on the chairmen of the committees we serve on — Homeland Security and Judiciary — to recognize the gravity of the domestic terrorism threat and work with us on developing concrete and common-sense solutions to counter it,” their statement says. “For too long we have focused only on certain sources of terrorism and violence while ignoring others.”
The four bombings have left two people dead and four others injured. The most recent attack happened Sunday night, just hours after cops issued an urgent public plea, asking the “person or persons” responsible to stop.
Investigators believe they could have a “serial bomber” on their hands, on account of the same materials being used in the packages and similarities in the way they are being left.
Officials said the use of a tripwire to detonate the bomb on Sunday shows “a higher level of sophistication, a higher level of skill.”
“These bombings must be classified as ongoing terrorist attacks and should be investigated as such,” says the Black Caucus statement. “Also, we need to understand if these attacks are ideologically or racially motivated.”