Nashville police say they responded to a “shots fired” call right before a parked RV exploded, leveling part of a block in the Tennessee city.
However, they say that it’s not clear whether shots were actually fired before the Christmas Day explosion that shattered windows, damaged buildings, and caused several minor injuries. That report comes after a witness account about hearing what sounded like gunfire. WKRN-TV reported in a live broadcast that a message was “playing from the RV” before the blast.
CBS News is reporting that the person of interest in the bombing is Anthony Quinn Warner, 63, of the Nashville area. Authorities have not yet publicly confirmed the name. However, we ran an address linked to Warner in online records on Google Maps, and there is a very similar RV visible in the yard.
Here’s another picture of the RV parked at the address that comes up for Warner.
CBS News is reporting that authorities found human remains near the blast scene, but they haven’t said whether they are the suspect or a victim.
Early on Christmas morning, officers received a mysterious shots fired call. “They encountered an RV that had a recording that said a potential bomb would detonate within 15 minutes,” police said in a noon news conference on December 25. “Officers decided to evacuate the building nearby.” A short time later, the bomb went off, causing what authorities described as a “massive crime scene.” Three people suffered minor injuries.
The parked RV exploded in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, on Christmas morning. Authorities believe the explosion was intentional, but they haven’t identified a suspect or motive. The downtown blast occurred in an area that does include residential living.
“MNPD, FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation and ATF investigating the 6:30 a.m. explosion on 2nd Ave North linked to a vehicle. This appears to have been an intentional act. Law enforcement is closing downtown streets as investigation continues,” police wrote on their Facebook page.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Eyewitness Reported Hearing What Sounded Like Multiple Gunshots
A WKRN journalist reported speaking to a man in the area who said he heard what sounded like multiple gunshots. It’s not clear whether they really were gunshots, however. WKRN-TV
A police spokesman said in a news conference that the initial call, before the explosion, came in as a shots fired call. However, authorities have not yet confirmed whether shots actually were fired.
They saw that the “RV was parked there. There were circumstances about the RV that caused the officers to request the bomb squad.” He said police don’t know if anyone was physically inside the RV when it exploded.
Mayor Cooper tweeted, “At 6:32 Christmas morning, @MNPDNashville and @NashvilleFD responded to the scene of an explosion on 2nd Ave, approximately one block north of Broadway. Metro Police confirm the source of the explosion came from a vehicle. The cause of the explosion is under investigation with help from federal authorities. MNPD will share updates as they become available and is restricting downtown traffic. Be safe Nashville. Thank you to our emergency personnel for your quick response.”
A police spokesman said in a news conference, “The immediate downtown area has been sealed off by law enforcement. A number of police dogs have been called and are now searching the area… to make sure there are no secondary devices. We have no indication there are secondary devices.” The search is occurring out of an “abundance of caution.”
When the explosion went off, it “knocked one of our officers to the ground,” the police spokesman said. No officers were severely hurt. One suffered temporary hearing loss. “There were a number of officers working a call when the explosion occurred,” he said. Officers are now “conducting searches of downtown buildings to make sure there’s no one in need of help.” Several buildings experienced damage.
“An explosion linked to a vehicle occurred at 6:30 this morning outside 166 2nd Ave N downtown. Investigation active by MNPD & federal partners,” Metro Nashville Police confirmed in their first statement on the explosion. Police haven’t released additional details, including any suspect, motive, or injuries.
The Mayor Pledged to Get to the Bottom of the Blast, Calling It a Likely ‘One-Off Event’
Nashville Mayor John Cooper said in a news conference, “As for the explosion, we’ve got great people working on it, and we’ll get to the bottom of it. It seems intentional, but I think it’s just a one-off event, and people should not be concerned about it. But in a year that has had everything else, let’s add an explosion to it.”
A Nashville resident, Buck McCoy, also went live from the scene.
“These are pictures from 2nd Avenue south. Windows were broken out from explosion area to Broadway. Please AVOID this area! Media staging is at 2nd Avenue south and KVB,” the Nashville Fire Department wrote. Debris filled the street.
Another journalist reported that the police bomb squad was making sure there weren’t car bombs in the area. NewsChannel5 reported that federal authorities were helping investigate. It’s not clear what ignited the explosion, but there was a fairly large blast zone.
Phil Williams, a reporter with NC5, wrote, “Explosion in downtown Nashville, apparently from parked vehicle on 2nd Ave. Fire department personnel being told to pull back two blocks from explosion site, concerned about potential vehicle bombs. Police bomb squad and fire hazmat team on scene.”
Police closed a 10-block radius of the Tennessee city’s downtown, according to WSMV-TV.
Williams added, “Per scanners, Metro Police have identified an extended debris field that stretches up 2nd Ave to the old Metro Courthouse. This is about two city blocks. Nashville fire crews being told to back up ANOTHER two blocks from site of explosion in downtown area. Concerns: possible vehicle bombs left in area, potential radiation. All of this is PRECAUTIONARY at this point. Nashville police and fire setting up radiation monitors to assess situation in downtown area near explosion site. This is all precautionary at this point.”
According to WKRN-TV, the explosion occurred in the area of Second Avenue and Broadway near Commerce Street around 6:30 a.m. on Christmas Day.
In June, the Tennessean caused controversy by publishing a paid advertisement from a “fringe religious group” that it says “featured a bizarre, pseudo-religious ‘prophecy,’ including the declaration of an impending nuclear attack in Nashville by ‘Islam.'” There’s no indication at this point that it’s linked to the Christmas Day explosion, though. Newspaper officials apologized for the ad.