Authorities search for motive in Nashville Christmas Day bombing

Authorities have named Anthony Q Warner as the suspect and said he died in the blast in Tennessee’s largest city.

Several people were treated for injuries following the explosion in downtown Nashville [Mark Humphrey/AP Photo]
Several people were treated for injuries following the explosion in downtown Nashville [Mark Humphrey/AP Photo]

Federal, state and local law enforcement officers were on Monday looking for the motive behind a bombing that rocked Nashville on Christmas morning, with evidence pointing to the 63-year-old suspect on a suicide mission that took only his life.

The FBI on Sunday identified the suspect as Anthony Q Warner and said he died in the blast, which wounded three people and damaged more than 40 businesses in downtown Nashville, Tennessee’s largest city and the United States’ country music capital.

Warner’s motor home exploded at dawn on Friday moments after police responding to reports of gunfire noticed it and heard music and an automated message coming from the vehicle warning of a bomb.

Police hurried to evacuate people in the area, and Warner is the only person known to have died in the blast.

FBI and ATF agents search the basement of a house in Nashville, Tennessee [Mark Humphrey/AP Photo]
At least three people were wounded in the blast, news agencies reported.

Steve Schmoldt, who lived next door to Warner, told CNN the man led a reclusive life. “He’s lived there a long time and he sort of kept to himself … All we knew him by was Tony. He was kind of a hermit.”

Nashville Mayor John Cooper has said that local officials felt there had to be some connection between the bombing, which occurred near an AT&T transmission building on the city’s busy Second Avenue, and the building.

But officials have maintained it was too early in the investigation to discuss the suspect’s motives.

Council member Freddie O’Connell, whose district includes Second Avenue, said officials have been reluctant to speculate about motive or to label the bombing an act of terrorism because it was still unclear whether Warner was driven by any ideology.

“It may be some time before we get even close to having some of these questions answered,” O’Connell said.

The explosion disrupted mobile, internet and TV services across central Tennessee and parts of four other states.

Debris litters the road near the site of an explosion in the area of Second and Commerce in Nashville [Elliott Anderson/Tennessean.com/USA Today Network via Reuters]
Investigators searched Warner’s home on Saturday and visited a Nashville real estate agency where he had worked part-time, providing computer consulting services.

Speaking to Fox News on Monday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee described the damage in Nashville as “enormous” and said he expected President Donald Trump would shortly grant his request to declare a state of emergency to assist the state.

“It was a indescribable blast and it’s destroyed businesses all up and down that downtown block,” Lee said.

Source: News Agencies

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