Texas back in business? Barely, y’all, as malls, restaurants empty

By Brad Brooks

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – The Domain mall in Austin, Texas, is open for business – unlike most of its 100 upscale shops – as the state entered its first work week of eased pandemic restrictions in the hopes of rekindling the economy.

A dozen or so people were strolling about the sprawling open-air shopping center Monday afternoon, with three seated on the patio of a Tex-Mex restaurant. Only one shopper wore a mask, and the loudest noises were from songbirds perched in the live oak trees along the deserted pedestrian thoroughfares.

“I’ve seen one customer today – they didn’t buy anything,” said Taylor Jund, who was keeping watch over an empty Chaser clothing store. “There’s absolutely no one coming around here.”

While protests across the United States demand state governments allow business to reopen and people to get back to work, the vast majority of Americans balk at relaxing stay-at-home orders too quickly, according to Reuters/Ipsos opinion polling.

Texas, Georgia, and other southern states are leading the way in letting stay at home orders expire and gradually allowing people to go about their business. But the early days of the opening in Texas show that many residents might want to stay home anyway.

“The cases of coronavirus aren’t really going down, so I suspect people aren’t comfortable going to malls or getting back to normal life,” David Tamayo said while sitting on a shaded bench with his girlfriend at The Domain, where he said they came to relax outdoors.

Restaurants, retail stores, and malls in Texas are now allowed to open at 25% capacity in most areas. Stores in rural counties with five or fewer cases can operate at 50%. A second phase is planned for May 18 if infection rates decline.

On Monday, Texas reported that it had 884 deaths from COVID-19 and 32,332 cases total, though it has among the lowest per capita testing rate of any state.

PLEXIGLASS BARRIERS

With temperatures in the 90s, Texans flocked to parks, beaches and rivers over the weekend. Beachgoers packed the shore in the resort town of Galveston, though police said most people seemed to be practicing social distancing.

A large gathering of youth at a lake outside Lubbock, in West Texas, prompted authorities to say on Sunday they were closing the beach there back down.

Still, in most spots in the state – which is larger than France – there has been plenty of room for outdoor recreation and social distancing.

Christy Armstrong, who works for a food distribution company, made the rounds with her restaurant clients across the Houston area on Monday. During a stop at Arnaldo Richards’ Picos Mexican restaurant in central Houston, she saw a handful of customers sitting at a bar, separated from one another by Plexiglas barriers.

“It’s sad to know that this is the first Monday we’ve reopened, and a lot of the places are still very empty,” Armstrong said. “I’m a little shocked it’s so dead out.”

But patience, and even closing down again if there are coronavirus flare-ups, should be foremost on business owners’ minds, said Laura Hoffman, president of Austin’s Chamber of Commerce.

She said the most important thing for businesses was to figure out how to safely reopen and for the Chamber to help them do that, sharing lessons learned at places that have stayed open all along, such as grocery stores.

“We have to look at this pandemic as a long-term condition,” she said. “We must strike the balance between keeping people healthy and reopening.”

(Reporting by Brad Brooks in Austin; Additional reporting by Callaghan O’Hare in Houston; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Gerry Doyle)

Investigators seek clues whether Austin bomber worked alone

A law enforcement member is seen down the street from the home where Austin serial bomber Mark Anthony Conditt lived in Pflugerville, Texas, U.S., March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Federal investigators were on Friday seeking clues about what motivated the 23-year-old man they say was responsible for the deadly Texas bombing spree and whether he had help building or planting his bombs.

Mark Conditt, an unemployed man from the Austin suburb of Pflugerville, was behind bombings that killed two people and wounded five others over three weeks before he killed himself as police officers moved in on him on Wednesday, police in the Texas capital said.

Police said Conditt confessed to the bombings in a 25-minute video made on his cellphone hours before he blew himself up. The video showed a troubled young man, police said, but did not outline a clear motive for the attacks that began March 2.

As law enforcement officials continue to search for Conditt’s motive, they remain anxious to learn whether anyone assisted him build or plant his bombs.

“Even though the bomber’s dead, our focus is to ensure that he wasn’t working with anyone else,” said Michelle Lee, a spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s San Antonio office.

Investigators sought further clues on Thursday from the Pflugerville home Conditt shared with his roommates. Bomb-making material was found in a room there and investigators questioned and released two of Conditt’s roommates, police said.

Conditt’s bombs primarily targeted Austin. Three were left as parcels outside victims’ homes, one by a sidewalk with a trip-wire mechanism attached and two shipped as FedEx parcels, which helped investigators unmask the bomber’s identity.

The second and third bombs went off while Austin was hosting its annual South by Southwest music, movies and tech festival, which draws about half a million people.

Conditt and his three siblings were home-schooled through high school, his mother wrote on Facebook. He attended classes at Austin Community College between 2010 and 2012, but did not graduate.

(Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Alison Williams)

Texas bombing suspect blows himself up as police close in

FILE PHOTO: Law enforcement personnel investigate an incident that they said involved an incendiary device in the 9800 block of Brodie Lane in Austin, Texas, U.S., March 20, 2018.REUTERS/Loren Elliott

By Jon Herskovitz

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (Reuters) – An unemployed 23-year-old man suspected of a three-week bombing campaign in Texas that killed two people and injured five others before blowing himself up on the side of a highway was identified by local media on Wednesday.

The suspect was identified as Mark Anthony Conditt, of Pflugerville, Texas, according to the local CBS television affiliate and Austin American-Statesman newspaper, citing unnamed law enforcement sources. Reuters could not immediately confirm the suspect’s identity.

Public records showed Conditt’s age as 23. Officials had said the suspect was 24.

Police tracked the suspect to a hotel about 20 miles north of Austin, the state capital, and were following his vehicle when he pulled to the side of the road and detonated a device, killing himself, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told reporters near the scene.

“The suspect is deceased and has significant injuries from a blast that occurred from detonating a bomb inside his vehicle,” Manley told reporters. He declined to further identify the suspect, except to say he was white.

Investigators had tracked him for a couple of days before closing in at an unidentified hotel in Round Rock, Texas, not for from his home in Pflugerville, Governor Greg Abbott told Fox News on Wednesday.

“We’ve known for a couple of days who the suspect likely was,” Abbott said. “Law enforcement is at his house in Pflugerville where we are learning whether or not that was the location he was making his bombs.”

The governor added that the suspect is believed to have lived with two roommates, who are not currently considered suspects, Abbott said. The suspect was not a military veteran, Abbott said.

Texas law enforcement officials blocked off the street where the suspect lived, not far from where the first bomb went off on March 2, killing one person.

Jay Schulze, a 42-year-old network engineer, said on Wednesday he lived a few houses away from the bombing suspect and that the suspect and his friends would hang out late at night.

“They would be out in back playing music and partying pretty late,” Schulze said.

While jogging on Tuesday night, Schulze noticed a heavy police presence in the area, with drones flying overhead. He said he was stopped briefly by a person who he thought was an FBI agent.

‘DO NOT UNDERSTAND’ MOTIVATION

Manley said the suspect was believed to be responsible for six bombs around Austin, all but one of which detonated. He said the motivation for the bombings or whether the suspect had help was not yet known.

Manley warned residents to be cautious since it was not clear whether any more bombs had been left around the city.

The bombings killed two people and injured at least five others, unnerving residents of Austin, a city of some 1 million people. The first bombings occurred as the city was hosting the annual South By Southwest music, film and technology festival.

While officers waited for reinforcements before they arrested him, the suspect left the hotel and police followed.

The suspect pulled off the city’s main highway and two Austin police officers approached his vehicle when he set off the device. One officer fired at the vehicle and the other sustained a minor injury when the bomb went off, Manley said.

U.S. President Donald Trump congratulated authorities on Twitter: “Great job by law enforcement and all concerned!”

The first three devices were parcel bombs dropped off in front of homes in the Austin area. A fourth went off on Sunday night, apparently detonated with a trip wire also around Austin, and a fifth exploded inside a FedEx Corp <FDX.N> facility near San Antonio on Tuesday.

The bombings bewildered authorities, who by Sunday had publicly called on the bomber to contact them and explain why he was carrying out the attacks.

The first two bombs killed black men, raising fears that they were part of a hate crime, but investigators said the blasts that came later and were more random made that less likely.

Manley said investigators have no clear idea of what prompted the suspect to carry out the bombing, saying, “We do not understand what motivated him to do what he did.”

(Reporting by Jonathan Herskovitz; Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee and Jonathan Allen and Gina Cherelus in New York; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Larry King and Jeffrey Benkoe)

Fifth device explodes in Texas, seen linked to others

A FedEx truck is seen outside FedEx facility following the blast, in Schertz, Texas, U.S., March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Flores

By Jon Herskovitz and Jim Forsyth

AUSTIN/SCHERTZ, Texas (Reuters) – A package bomb blew up at a FedEx distribution center near San Antonio on Tuesday, the fifth in a series of attacks that have rocked Texas this month and sent investigators on a frantic search for what they suspect is a serial bomber.

The package filled with nails and metal shrapnel was mailed from Austin to another address in Austin and passed through a sorting center in Schertz, about 65 miles (105 km) away, when it exploded on a conveyer belt, knocking a female employee off her feet, officials said.

It was the fifth explosion in Texas in the past 18 days and the first involving a commercial parcel service.

“We do believe that these incidents are all related. That is because of the specific contents of these devices,” interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told members of the Austin City Council, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

A second package sent by the same person was discovered and turned over to law enforcement, FedEx Corp said in a statement. Meanwhile police had surrounded yet another FedEx location in the Austin area after discovering a suspicious package there.

The series of bombings have unsettled Austin, the state capital of some 1 million people, and drawn hundreds of federal law enforcement investigators to join local police. Schertz lies on the highway between Austin and San Antonio.

Speaking through the media, officials have appealed to the bomber to reveal the motives for the attacks. They have also asked the public for any tips, offering a $115,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprit.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a tweet: “We are committed to bringing perpetrators of these heinous acts to justice. There is no apparent nexus to terrorism at this time.”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment on whether it was ruling out both international and domestic terrorism.

“This is obviously a very, very sick individual, or maybe individuals,” President Donald Trump told reporters. “Theseare sick people, and we will get to the bottom of it.”

Investigators were trying to come up with a theory or intelligence regarding the motive for the bombings or identity of the bomber or bombers, a U.S. security official and a law enforcement official told Reuters.

Members of the media move cameras around before the start of a news conference outside the scene of a blast at a FedEx facility in Schertz, Texas, U.S., March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Flore

Members of the media move cameras around before the start of a news conference outside the scene of a blast at a FedEx facility in Schertz, Texas, U.S., March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Flores

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was investigating the FedEx package explosion as if there were a connection to the Austin bombings, the law enforcement official said. Both sources declined to be identified.

The individual or people behind the bombings are likely to be highly skilled and methodical, said Fred Burton, chief security officer for Stratfor, a private intelligence and security consulting firm based in Austin.

“This is a race against time to find him before he bombs again,” Burton said.

The four previous explosions killed two people and injured four others.

The first three devices were parcel bombs dropped off in front of homes on in three eastern Austin neighborhoods. The fourth went off on Sunday night on the west side of the city and was described by police as a more sophisticated device detonated through a trip wire.

The four devices were similar in construction, suggesting they were the work of the same bomb maker, officials said.

Federal authorities at the scene of Tuesday’s blast offered few details, telling reporters their probe was in the early stages and that the building would be secured before investigators could gather evidence.

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were among those working with local officials in Austin, Schertz and San Antonio.

“We have agents from across the country. We have our national response team here. We have explosive detection canines here. We have intel research specialists,” Frank Ortega, acting assistant special agent in charge of the San Antonio ATF office, told reporters. “We’ve been working around the clock.”

(Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee and Mark Hosenball and Lisa Lambert in Washington; Writing Daniel Trotta; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Tom Brown)

Fifth package bomb strikes Texas, at FedEx facility near San Antonio

Schertz Police block off Doerr Lane near the scene of a blast at a FedEx facility in Schertz, Texas, U.S., March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Flore

By Jon Herskovitz and Jim Forsyth

AUSTIN/SCHERTZ, Texas (Reuters) – A package bomb blew up at a FedEx Corp distribution center near San Antonio on Tuesday, officials said, and the FBI was investigating whether it was linked to a series of four homemade bombs that hit the Texas capital of Austin this month.

Officials did not say if the latest incident was the work of what Austin police believe could be a serial bomber responsible for the four earlier devices that killed two people and injured four others.

The blast at the FedEx facility in Schertz, northeast of San Antonio, was the fifth in the state in the last 18 days. If it is linked to the others, it would be the first outside the Austin area and the first that involves a commercial parcel service.

“We are investigating it as being possibly related to our open investigation,” FBI spokeswoman Michelle Lee told the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. “We can’t know for sure until we have an opportunity to look at the evidence itself.”

The package, filled with nails and metal shrapnel, exploded shortly after midnight local time at the facility, about 65 miles south of Austin, the San Antonio Fire Department said on Twitter.

The company described it as a FedEx Ground sorting facility. About 75 people were working at the facility at the time, fire officials said.

The individual or people behind the bombings are likely to be highly skilled and methodical, said Fred Burton, chief security officer for Stratfor, a private intelligence and security consulting firm based in Austin.

“This is a race against time to find him before he bombs again,” Burton said.

More than 500 federal agents were involved in the investigation.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler on Tuesday sought to reassure citizens. “While the concern is real and the anxiety is real … it can’t immobilize us. It has to make us more determined. It has to make us more vigilant,” he told a local television station.

The White House is monitoring the situation, spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told Fox News on Tuesday.

Further stoking fears, Austin police investigated a possible hazardous materials incident at a FedEx facility in Austin on Tuesday morning. There was no indication it was related to the bombings.

The first three devices were parcel bombs dropped off in front of homes on in three eastern Austin neighborhoods. The fourth went off on Sunday night on the west side of the city and was described by police as a more sophisticated device detonated through a trip wire mechanism.

The four devices were similar in construction, suggesting they were the work of the same bomb maker, officials said.

The first two bombs killed Anthony Stephan House, a 39-year-old black man on March 2 and Draylen Mason, a 17-year-old African-American teenager on March 12. The third, also on March 12, severely injured a 75-year-old Hispanic woman. Police said they are investigating whether the bombings were hate crimes.

Sunday’s trip wire bomb, which injured two white men, went off shortly after police made a rare public call to the suspect to explain his motives.

Austin, with a population of nearly 1 million people, is home to the University of Texas and a plethora of technology companies and has been one of the fastest growing major U.S. cities.

(Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee and Lisa Lambert in Washington; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Jeffrey Benkoe)

Serial bomber suspected in deadly Austin explosions: police

Police maintain a cordon near the site of an incident reported as an explosion in southwest Austin, Texas, U.S. March 18, 2018. REUTERS/Tamir Kalifa

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A serial bomber is suspected of planting four bombs detonated this month around Austin, Texas, that have killed two people and injured four others and unnerved residents of the Texas capital.

“We are clearly dealing with what we expect to be a serial bomber at this point,” Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told a news conference on Monday. “We have seen similarities in the devices that exploded here last night and the other three devices.”

Two men were injured on Sunday by the latest bomb, which police said may have been activated by a trip wire across a sidewalk, a more advanced design than the previous bombs that were set off when victims handled packages left on doorsteps.

The men, 22 and 23 years old, were taken to a hospital with what police described as “substantial” but not life threatening injuries.

Manley said that more than 500 federal agents were involved in the investigation, including from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

On Sunday agents swept the relatively affluent neighborhood called Travis Country where Sunday’s bomb exploded and asked residents for home surveillance videos.

“It’s scary,” Thad Holt, a 76-year-old retiree, said in an interview, recalling that he and his wife had strolled near the bomb site about half an hour before the explosion. “It’s one of those things … that happens elsewhere.”

Austin, with a population of nearly 1 million people, is home to the University of Texas and a plethora of tech companies and has been one of the fastest growing major U.S. cities.

MOTIVE UNKNOWN

Investigators were trying to identify the person or persons responsible for three parcel bombs that exploded in three east side neighborhoods, killing a man and a teenage boy, both black and leaving a Hispanic woman fighting for her life.

Police said the fourth bomb had similarities to the three parcel bombs. They said whoever was responsible was trying to send a message and should contact authorities to explain.

Chief Manley has said police were also investigating the bombings as possible hate crimes, but cautioned on Monday that the theory may not hold up as Sunday’s attack did not appear to have targeted specific people and both victims were white.

The first parcel bomb on March 2 killed Anthony Stephan House, a 39-year-old black man. A bomb last Monday morning killed Draylen Mason, a 17-year-old African-American teenager and budding musician, and injured his mother, whose name was not made public. A few hours later, a third bomb injured a 75-year-old Hispanic woman, who has not been identified.

Police have received more than 700 calls about suspicious packages since the three parcel bombs, but authorities have not found any that posed a security risk, Manley said.

A reward of $115,000 has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.

(Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee and Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Frank McGurty, Toni Reinhold)

Trip wire may have set off bomb in Austin, wounding two men: police

Police maintain a cordon near the site of an incident reported as an explosion in southwest Austin, Texas, U.S. March 18, 2018. REUTERS/Tamir Kalifa

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Two men on bicycles were wounded in an explosion of a bomb that may have been detonated by a trip wire, police said on Monday in the Texas capital, where earlier this month three parcel bombs killed two people.

The two men, thought to be in their 20s, suffered non-life threatening injuries and were taken to the hospital on Sunday after they came upon a suspicious device on the side of a road in a residential neighborhood on the west side of the city, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said during a press conference.

The possibility that the road-side bomb was triggered when someone handled, kicked or came in contact with a trip wire, differs from the previous explosions that were set off when individuals handled packages that were left on doorsteps, Manley said.

“We now need the community to have an extra level of vigilance and pay attention to any suspicious device,” he said. “Given that there may have been a different triggering mechanism in this device, we wanted to get that out as early as possible.”

Residents were told to stay in their homes in the west side neighborhood several miles from where the earlier blasts occurred, Manley said.

“We’re working on the belief that they are connected,” he said, noting that authorities will wait until daylight to process the scene.

FBI and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents were at the scene, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Twitter.

Investigators are still looking for the culprits behind the three parcel bombs that exploded in three separate east side neighborhoods of the city, killing two African-American males and leaving a 75-year-old Hispanic woman fighting for her life.

Earlier on Sunday, Austin police said whoever was responsible for the bombs was trying to send a message and should contact authorities to explain any motive.

“We are not going to understand that (message) until the suspect or suspects reach out to us to talk to us about what that message was,” Manley said.

Manley said police were also investigating the bombings as possible hate crimes.

The first bombing on March 2 killed Anthony Stephan House, a 39-year-old black man. It ripped a hole in a home entrance wall and damaged the front door.

A bomb last Monday morning killed Draylen Mason, a 17-year-old African American teenager and promising musician. It also injured his mother. A few hours later, a third bombing injured the 75-year-old Hispanic woman, who has not been named.

Police have received more than 735 calls about suspicious packages since the three parcel bomb attacks, but authorities had not found any that posed a security risk, Manley said.

A reward of $115,000 has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible.

(Corrects with addition of missing word in paragraph 6.)

(Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Louise Heavens)

Deadly blast in Texas believed linked to earlier explosion

An FBI agent exits her car after arriving at the scene of an explosion near north Galindo street. Police investigators are at the home where a 17-year-old boy was killed and a woman injured in a package bomb explosion in Austin, Texas, U.S., March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Flo

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A package bomb that killed a Texas teenager and injured a woman on Monday was believed to be linked to a deadly blast in the state’s capital city earlier this month, according to police, who were also investigating a third explosion that injured one.

Austin police said Monday’s package bomb that killed a 17-year-old, as well as a March 2 explosion that killed a man, were being investigated as homicides. The two homes that received the packages belonged to African-Americans.

“We cannot rule out that hate crime is at the core of this but we are not saying that that is the cause,” Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told a news conference.

Isiah Guerrero, 15, gives an interview to the media in the neighbourhood of the scene of an explosion. Police investigators are at the home where a 17-year-old boy was killed and a woman injured in a package bomb explosion in Austin, Texas, U.S., March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Flores

Police said they responded to a second explosion of a package on Monday at another home in which a woman was injured. A police spokeswoman was unable to confirm if it was related to the other two explosions.

Monday’s blasts were in homes about 4 miles (6 km) apart in east Austin, while the March 2 blast occurred at house in the city’s northeast Harris Ridge neighborhood.

The March 2 blast, which killed a 39-year-old man, was initially investigated as a suspicious death but is now being treated as a homicide.

In the deadly blast on Monday, the 17-year-old resident found a package in front of his house in the morning and brought it into the kitchen, where it exploded, Manley said. The woman, in her 40s, was taken to an area hospital with injuries that were not thought to be life-threatening.

“We are looking at these incidents as being related,” Manley said, adding that federal investigators have joined the case.

After the March 2 explosion, Austin police said they had no indication the blast was related to terrorism.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz and Andrew Hay; Editing by Susan Thomas and Tom Brown)

Texas university removes ‘white supremacy’ statues overnight

Workers remove Confederate Postmaster General John Reagan statue from the south mall of the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, U.S., August 21, 2017.

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – The University of Texas at Austin removed the statues of three Confederate-era figures from a main area on campus on Monday, saying they had become symbols of white supremacy and that they were taken down overnight to avoid confrontations.

Violence broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12 when white nationalists protesting against the planned removal of a statue of Confederate military leader Robert E. Lee clashed with anti-racism demonstrators. One woman was killed when a suspected white nationalist drove his car into a crowd.

President Donald Trump’s reaction to the events has drawn widespread anger from across the political spectrum. Trump did not immediately condemn white nationalists and said there were “very fine people” on both sides, prompting several chief executives to quit his business councils in protest.

“Last week, the horrific displays of hatred at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville shocked and saddened the nation,” University of Texas at Austin President Greg Fenves said in a statement.

“These events make it clear, now more than ever, that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism.”

Fenves announced the removal of the statues shortly before midnight on Sunday. By about 3 a.m. local time on Monday, they had all been taken down, said Cindy Posey, director of campus safety communications. It was done at night as a safety measure to avoid confrontations, she said.

A growing number of U.S. political leaders are calling for the removal of statues honoring the Confederacy, saying they promote racism. Supporters of keeping the statues in place contend they are a reminder of Southern heritage and the country’s history.

The statues of three Confederate figures and a former governor removed from the university’s main mall were “erected during the period of Jim Crow laws and segregation” and “represent the subjugation of African Americans,” the university president said.

The statues include depictions of Lee, who led the pro-slavery Confederacy’s army, of Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston and of Confederate Postmaster General John Reagan.

Those three will be moved to the school’s Briscoe Center for American History, where they will be accessible for scholarly study, Fenves said.

Onlookers watch as Confederate statues are removed from the south mall of the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, U.S., August 21, 2017.

Onlookers watch as Confederate statues are removed from the south mall of the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, U.S., August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Spillman

Workers also removed a statue of former Governor James Stephen Hogg, who led Texas from 1891 to 1895, years after the Civil War ended in 1865. It will be considered for re-installation at another university site, Fenves said.

Several cities have targeted Confederate symbols in response to the violence in Charlottesville. They include Baltimore, Maryland, which removed four monuments to the Confederacy in a pre-dawn operation last week, and Birmingham, Alabama, where the mayor vowed to seek the removal of a Confederate monument in his city.

On Saturday, Duke University removed a statue of Lee from the entrance of a chapel on the Durham, North Carolina, campus.

 

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)