Southeast Texas church damaged by explosion

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A package left at the front door of a Southeast Texas church exploded, causing minor damage and marking the second time in two weeks that a device has been found in the city of Beaumont.

The overnight blast broke windows and caused other damage to St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Beaumont’s West End, the Rev. Steven Balke told KFDM-TV on Thursday.

No one was injured in the explosion. Bishop C. Andrew Doyle, Episcopal Bishop of Texas, said in a statement that the church and the All Saints Episcopal School next door were evacuated and will remain closed until further notice.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Police Chief Jim Singletary displayed resources being used in the investigation. He declined, however, to address the nature of the bomb, motive, whether any suspects had been identified, or if there were any links between this bomb and other devices.

Authorities said a similar device was found unexploded outside a Beaumont Starbucks on April 27. Police have disclosed no motive.

A recent series of package bombs exploded in the Austin area over a three-week period, killing two people and severely wounding four others. Investigators said suspect Mark Conditt used one his own devices to blow himself up as authorities approached his SUV before dawn on March 21.

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