Anthony Q. Warner, who was named by Nashville’s police chief as the person of interest in the Nashville bombing, may have had a bizarre motive: 5G conspiracy theories.
Authorities have now confirmed that Warner, 63, of Antioch, Tennessee, is the man who parked a bomb-laden RV in downtown Nashville on Christmas morning, played a recording of a woman’s voice urging people to evacuate, and then detonating the explosives, injuring three people and damaging at least 41 buildings. Officially, authorities have not revealed a motive.
WSMV-TV’s Jeremy Finley is reporting that “FBI agents spent the days at another location today besides searching the home of Anthony Warner, pursuing tips that he was paranoid about 5g spying on Americans.” The television station reported that it’s only one possible motive that authorities are pursuing.
Authorities have now matched human tissue recovered at the blast zone to Warner’s DNA. “We’ve come to the conclusion that an individual named Anthony Warner is the bomber,” U.S. Attorney Donald Q. Cochran, Jr. declared in a December 27 news conference. Warner was present when the bomb went off and “perished in the bombing,” said authorities. Forensic scientists confirmed a DNA match, authorities said. They scoured surveillance video and saw no one else near the RV, leading them to believe that Warner acted alone.
Asked about the 5G motive in their December 27 press conference, authorities said they were investigating information found online but didn’t detail it; they said they are still pursuing multiple possible motives for the bombing.
Here’s what you need to know:
A Local Realtor Says Authorities Asked Him Whether Warner Had 5G ‘Paranoia’
Realtor Steve Fridrich told WSMV-TV that Warner did computer contracting work for him. He said that he tipped authorities off that they should look at Warner for the bombing. He also told the television station that FBI agents “asked him whether or not Warner had paranoia about 5G technology,” but said he didn’t have any information about that.
The television station reported that “agents are investigating whether or not Warner had paranoia that 5G technology was being used to spy on Americans.”
What is the 5G conspiracy theory? Since the pandemic hit, conspiracy theories have raged that 5G cell phone towers spread COVID-19; scientists have found the claims baseless, according to BBC. In May, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned of the potential for attacks by 5G conspiracy theorists against cell towers and wireless providers.
Warner, who is unmarried and childless, is self-employed in the IT area, a neighbor said; state records show he once was licensed as an alarm contractor, with a specialty in burglar alarm installation. In recent years, he lost a father and brother, leaving him with few living family members.
According to the Tennessean, police visited Fridrich & Clark Realty’s office in Green Hills to follow up leads; the owner also told the newspaper that Warner once worked for the company and had contacted authorities with tips. Tony Warner worked as a contract laborer doing computer consulting but told the company by email earlier this month that he wasn’t going to work for them anymore. The owner told the newspaper that Warner seemed “very personable” and the bombing “quite out of character.” Warner fixed broken computers for the company.
A neighbor told Heavy in an interview that Warner, who was unmarried without children, told her he was self-employed in the IT/computers area.
The Bombing Occurred Near an AT&T Facility, Disabling Wireless Service Throughout the Region
The bombing also disabled a major communication network, because it occurred near a significant AT&T facility; CNN reported that it knocked out much of the region’s wireless service and that authorities are investigating whether it was the bomber’s target. Mobile service was back up but not internet, and authorities are hoping the site will be at full capacity by December 27, authorities said in an earlier new conference that day.
Authorities told CNN the explosion was likely a suicide bombing.
The damage to the communication infrastructure was significant, due to the proximity of the blast to the AT&T building. AT&T wrote in a December 26 statement:
Our teams continue to work around the clock on recovery efforts from yesterday morning’s explosion in Nashville. We have two portable cell sites operating in downtown Nashville with numerous additional portable sites being deployed in the Nashville area and in the region.
At our facility, the focus of the restoration continues to be getting power to the equipment in a safe and secure way. Challenges remain, including a fire which reignited overnight and led to the evacuation of the building. Currently, our teams are on site working with safety and structural engineers. They have drilled access holes into the building and are attempting to reconnect power to critical equipment. Technical teams are also working as quickly as possible on rerouting additional services to other facilities in the region to restore service.
We continue to be grateful for the work of first responders as they respond to this event and help protect our team working to restore service for our customers.
On Christmas Day, AT&T wrote, “Power is essential to restoring wireless and wireline communications and we are working with law enforcement to get access to our equipment and make needed repairs. Given the damage to our facility it will take time to restore service. We have already rerouted significant traffic from this facility and are bringing in other equipment, including numerous portable cell sites to the area.”
On social media, one popular theory deals with AT&T’s ties to the NSA. In 2018, the Intercept alleged that NSA electronic spying facilities were located in AT&T buildings in cities across the country. However, the article does not mention Nashville.
You Can See a Similar RV Parked at Warner’s House on Google Maps
A similar RV to the one used in the Nashville bombing can be seen parked next to Warner’s house on Google Maps.
Here’s how it looks in Google Earth:
Below is the lone image of the RV used in the blast that was released by Metropolitan Nashville police. CNN reported that a tip about the RV used in the explosion led authorities to the Antioch home for a “court-authorized search.”
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
The downtown Nashville blast damaged a large section of 2nd Avenue early on Christmas morning. Three people were injured, but not seriously, and at least 41 buildings were damaged in the historic neighborhood, the mayor said in an earlier press conference.
The RV was playing a recording urging people to evacuate when officers arrived.
“If you can hear this message, evacuate now. This area must be evacuated now,” a woman’s recorded voice says in a monotone voice in the video.