The police also revealed that the suspect behind the attack has been identified.
At 6:30 am on Christmas morning, residents of Downtown Nashville were trying their best to save their lives as a female computerized voice came from an RV warning them of a blast. According to CNN, the message was: "This vehicle will explode in 15 minutes." With each passing minute, the voice reiterated the message, counting down to the time left until the bomb went off in the motor vehicle.
Six police officers, who heard the countdown, sprung to action as they tried to help residents in downtown Nashville evacuate. The RV made true to its threat and exploded, but thanks to these officers, only three people were injured, confirmed officials.
BREAKING: This is the RV that exploded on 2nd Ave N this morning. It arrived on 2nd Ave at 1:22 a.m. Have you seen this vehicle in our area or do you have information about it? Please contact us via Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463 or online via https://t.co/dVGS7o0m4v. @ATFHQ pic.twitter.com/JNx9sDinAH— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) December 25, 2020
"Officers immediately began knocking on doors and evacuating residents here, not knowing if the bomb was going to detonate immediately or if it was going to go off in the time that it was stated," Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake said. Without them, things would've taken a turn for the worse.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper praised the six responding officers, saying they "took swift action and directed people away from danger to save lives, even at the time that their own lives were imperiled." Cooper then added, "They are heroes. And I am grateful for them and all of Nashville's first responders."
The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department identified the officers in a news release late Friday as:
Officer Brenna Hosey, who has been with the department for 4 years;
Officer Tyler Luellen, who has been with the department for 3 years;
Officer Michael Sipos, who has been with the department for 16 months;
Officer Amanda Topping, who has been with the department for 21 months;
Officer James Wells, who has been with the department for 21 months; and
Sergeant Timothy Miller, who has been with the department for 11 years.
Several buildings in the area were damaged due to the blast's impact. The three people that were injured were taken to the hospital, but are stable and don't have any life-threatening injuries. Due to the force of the explosion, one officer was knocked down, and another's hearing was affected.
Betsy Williams, a witness who lives in another building across the street from the explosion, described it as a "computerized" and female voice.
Mayor Cooper then added how the city has faced this year and expressed appreciation for the efforts of the responding officers. "This is a year where we understand what our first responders mean to our community time and time again," Cooper said. "Unfortunately on Christmas Day, you have another example of that."
Nashville Mayor John Cooper tells the @Tennessean that 2020 has been “the year of the first responder.” Nashville has faced a deadly tornado, then the coronavirus pandemic and now a bomb detonating downtown. pic.twitter.com/eIxEV0v5zm— Brinley Hineman (@brinleyhineman) December 26, 2020
According to another report by CNN, residents in the area woke up to gunshots fired around 5:30 a.m. Initially, the police weren't sure who was behind the attack, but the latest BBC report states that the police has identified the suspect as Anthony Quinn Warner, 63. The Tennesse officials allege that the DNA found at the crime scene matches with Warner.
.....#EXCLUSIVE @CBSNews has obtained a photo of Anthony Quinn Warner, the Person Of Interest in the #Nashville #bombing. Investigators believe he died in the blast...more to come pic.twitter.com/kXThvYrJGU— Jeff Pegues (@jeffpeguescbs) December 28, 2020
During a press conference, police revealed that Warner, who worked in IT and had extensive experience with electronics, was the sole individual responsible for the blast and had died at the site.
Warner's neighbor described him as a "computer geek" as per USA Today. Steve Schmoldt, who lived next door to Warner for more than two decades, described him as "friendly" and "low key", adding: "I guess some people would say he's a little odd. You never saw anyone come and go," the newspaper quoted him as saying.
"As far as we knew, he was kind of a computer geek that worked at home." Schmoldt said Warner gave no indication of having held strong political beliefs. "He never had any yard signs or flags in his window or anything like that," he said.