Nashville Mayor John Cooper condemned the early Christmas morning bombing as a “cowardly attack” and said the city won’t rest until “those responsible… are brought to justice.” The bomber remained unidentified on Christmas evening.
Cooper spoke in an early evening press conference. In it, he revealed that 41 buildings were damaged and three people suffered minor injuries; the city’s police chief said authorities discovered tissue in the blast zone that they suspect might be human remains.
There’s no word on a suspect or suspects at this point, and it’s not clear whether the bomber died in the blast, authorities say. “The RV was detonated, so if it was someone inside, we have no idea. It was such a large explosion,” said Police Chief John Drake. “We will continue to examine that to see if it was human remains.” Some 911 services and AT&T went down for a time, said the chief.
The mayor bristled with resolve and said he is angry about the blast, calling it “a deliberate bomb set off in our community” that caused “catastrophic” damage to a historic neighborhood in addition to the injuries.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Mayor Says He Believes the Attack Was Designed to Cause Fear
Cooper said the city is resolved to rebuild and to bring “whoever is responsible for this to justice.” Officials are working on declaring a civil emergency for the damaged community, and they have imposed a curfew.
The mayor said “this morning’s attack on our community was intended to cause fear.” He said “we won’t rest until those responsible for this cowardly attack are brought to justice.” A 4-year-old girl was saved from injury, Cooper said.
The Metro Nashville Police Department has released a picture of the RV that exploded in downtown Nashville after broadcasting a recorded message warning people to evacuate the area.
While sharing the photo, police wrote, “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.” They shared this link and tagged the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, which is involved in the investigation into the blast, which left three people with minor injuries and damaged several buildings.
Cooper Praised the Heroism of Six Uniformed Police Officers Who ‘Took Swift Action’
The mayor offered strong praise for six uniformed police officers, who shepherded citizens to safety without knowing when the bomb might go off. It’s not yet clear what the motive is for the attack.
Cooper called the officers “incredible heroes who ran to danger.”
The officers who were injured by this are recovering well, said Cooper. He said the officers “took swift action and directed people away from danger…they are heroes, and I am grateful to them and all of Nashville’s first responders.”
The police chief, John Drake, said officers “had no idea what they were responding to” when they responded to a shots fired call. Then they heard a countdown and message from the RV, which also “played music.” A video shows the countdown message was a recorded warning in a female voice that suggested people evacuate the area.
Officers “immediately began knocking on doors and evacuating residents,” even though they didn’t know for sure when the bomb would go off. “They cared about the citizens of Nashville.”
“The officers saved lives today, and their heroism should be noted,” said the police chief.
“Why Christmas morning, we don’t have any idea,” said the chief.
The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. is now offering a $25,000 reward, according to Fox17.