Nashville explosion suspect Anthony Quinn Warner died in blast, FBI says

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) – Federal officials on Sunday identified the man they say is responsible for the Christmas Day bombing and said he was dead in the blast.

U.S. Attorney Don Cochran identified the suspect on Sunday as Anthony Quinn Warner. Investigators said they used DNA to determine the remains belonged to Warner. The FBI said it also matched the RV’s vehicle identification number to a record belonging to Warner.

Federal agents and police raided a home in suburban Nashville associated with Warner. Authorities did not immediately provide details of a potential motive.

FBI Special Agent Douglas Korneski said there was no indication anyone else was involved in the blast except Warner.

This is a developing story.

On Christmas Day, Nashville Police urged local residents to move away as a disturbing recording sounded from an RV. Suddenly the warning stopped and Petula Clark’s 1964 hit “Downtown” started playing. Then the bomb exploded.

Police officers provided heartbreaking details on the response to the Christmas morning explosion in downtown Nashville on Sunday, sometimes choking on reliving the moments leading up to the explosion and thanking you for still being desire.

“It’s going to bind us forever, for the rest of my life,” Officer James Wells, who suffered hearing loss from the blast, told reporters at a press conference. “Christmas will never be the same. “

63-year-old Tennessee man Anthony Q. Warner was under investigation in connection with the explosion, Nashville Subway Police spokesman Don Aaron said. He did not provide further details. Warner had experience with electronics and alarms, according to public records, and had worked as a computer consultant for a Nashville real estate agent.

The five officers who responded recounted what happened on Friday as investigators continued to decipher the motive for the recreational vehicle bombing on a largely deserted street just after issuing the recorded warning advising people to evacuate.

“I just see orange and I hear a big boom. As I stumble, I just tell myself to stand up and stay alive, ”Wells said, sometimes in tears.

Officer Amanda Topping said she initially parked their police car next to the camper van while answering the call before moving it after they heard the recording. Topping said she called his wife to let her know “things were really weird” as she helped get people away from the motorhome.

It was then that she heard the recording of the motorhome go from a warning to reading Clark’s hit “Downtown.” Moments later, the explosion struck.

“I felt the heat waves but just lost them and started sprinting towards (Wells),” Topping said. “I have never grabbed someone so strong in my life.”

Officer Brenna Hosey said she and her colleagues knocked on six or seven doors on neighboring apartments to warn people to evacuate. She particularly remembered a frightened mother of four children.

“I don’t have children but I have cousins ​​and nieces, people I love who are little,” Hosey said, adding that she had to beg the family to leave the building the most. quickly possible.

The attack, which damaged an AT&T building, continued to wreak havoc on mobile phone services and police and hospital communications in several southern states as the company worked to restore service.

Investigators from several federal and local law enforcement agencies descended on a house in Antioch, suburb of Nashville, on Saturday after receiving information relevant to the investigation, FBI Special Agent Jason said. Pack.

Another law enforcement official, who was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation and spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said authorities were investigating a person associated with the property, which he identified as Warner.

Federal agents could be seen looking around the property, searching the house and the backyard. A Google Maps image captured in May 2019 had shown a camper van similar to the one that exploded parked in the backyard, but it was not at the property on Saturday, according to an AP reporter at the scene.

The official said federal investigators were looking at Warner’s digital footprint and financial history, as well as a recent transfer of deed from the house they searched on the outskirts of Nashville.

Forensic analysts were also examining evidence gathered from the blast site in an attempt to identify components of the explosives as well as information from the US Bomb Data Center for intelligence and investigation purposes, the official said.

He said federal agents were looking at a number of potential leads and pursuing several theories, including the possibility that the AT&T building was targeted. The bomb caused damage that affected communications in several states.

Investigators shut down the heart of downtown Nashville’s tourist scene – an area teeming with honky-tonks, restaurants and shops – as they walked through broken glass and damaged buildings to learn more about the explosion.

Meanwhile, Nashville real estate agent Steve Fridrich told the AP in a text message that Warner had worked for his company as a computer consultant, and informed him that he was retiring more. early this month. The company has informed authorities of past IT work, Fridrich said.

There were other signs of progress in the investigation. The FBI said it was examining a number of individuals who may be linked to it. Officials also said no other explosive device was found, indicating no active threat to the area.

Investigators also said they were working to identify the human remains found at the scene. Beyond that, the only known casualties were three injured people.

The damage to the infrastructure was widely felt, due to an AT&T central office hit by the blast. Police emergency systems in Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama, as well as the Nashville COVID-19 community helpline and a handful of hospital systems have been affected.

The building contained a telephone exchange, with networking equipment, but the company declined to say exactly how many people were affected.

AT&T said on Sunday it was redirecting service to other facilities as the company worked to restore its heavily damaged building. The company said in a statement it is providing resources to help recover affected voice and data services and expects to have 24 more trailers of disaster recovery equipment on site by the end of the day. .

Restoration efforts faced several challenges, including a fire that forced their teams to work with safety and structural engineers and drill access holes into the building to reconnect electricity.

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a temporary flight restriction around the airport, requiring pilots to follow strict procedures until December 30.

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Article by KIMBERLEE KRUESI, MICHAEL BALSAMO and ERIC TUCKER of the Associated Press

Balsamo and Tucker reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Scott Stroud and photographer Mark Humphrey in Nashville contributed to this report.

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