NASHVILLE, Tennessee–December 26th, 2020–Law enforcement authorities in Nashville announced Saturday afternoon that they are currently investigating over 500 tips regarding the Christmas Day bombing blast that damaged more than 20 buildings.
Officials representing both federal and local agencies held a press conference in the downtown part of the city, in which U.S. Attorney Don Cochran condemned the “cowardly bombing on Christmas morning.”
Cochran said the ATF, FBI and local law enforcement are working on the case and they’ve had more than 500 leads and tips that are all being actively investigated. He added that the FBI and ATF officials are sifting through the crime scene, which he described as a “giant jigsaw puzzle.”
MNPD, FBI & ATF investigating the 6:30 a.m. explosion on 2nd Ave N linked to a vehicle. This appears to have been an intentional act. Law enforcement is closing downtown streets as investigation continues. pic.twitter.com/YOfMTaKmTH
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) December 25, 2020
Cochran, one of several law enforcement authorities who spoke at 2nd Avenue South and Korean Veterans Boulevard Saturday afternoon, said it is unclear if there is just one or several suspects involved in the blast.
Each of the officials confirmed they believe the explosion was intentional but they’re “not naming anyone” yet. They did acknowledge that the AT&T building was central to the explosion but declined to say whether that was the primary target as previous reports had indicated.
Nashville Chief of Police John Drake declared that the city is “safe” as of Saturday afternoon, but patience is needed for tenants of the 40 or so buildings affected by Friday blast. The city’s mayor, John Cooper, has enforced a curfew in the downtown area until Sunday through an executive order intended to limit public access to the crime scene.
Despite having 500 investigative leads, all officials declined to identify any single individual who is currently a person of interest.
Metro Police Chief John Drake confirmed that officers found tissue near the site of the explosion, and police are now testing the tissue in order to determine whether it is human remains. It is also unclear if the alleged remains were from someone directly linked to the blast or from a possible victim.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Doug Korneski said “we have no indication of additional explosive threats.”
The computerized voice emanating from the white motor home offered a terrifying warning: “This vehicle will explode in 15 minutes.”
The voice repeated the message, counting down as the minutes passed.
As the countdown continued, six police officers who heard those warnings sprang into action, helping residents in downtown Nashville evacuate before the motor home de good on its threat and exploded Friday morning.
The bomb tore through the neighborhood in the predawn hours, yet only injured three people thanks to the officers’ quick work and bravery, officials said.
“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.
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.”
“They are heroes. And I am grateful for them and all of Nashville’s first responders,” Cooper said.
The FBI is leading the investigation into the attack, but so far nobody seems to have any idea who was behind the bombing, however the elaborate warning system set up by the bombers telling people to evacuate, perhaps suggests that taking human life was not the primary objective.
UPDATE–A law enforcement source told CBS News at least one person of interest has been identified in connection to the recreational vehicle that exploded on Christmas morning, rocking downtown Nashville. Multiple sources confirm that Anthony Quinn Warner, a Nashville area resident, had a similar make and model RV as the one in photos released to the public.
Warner was described as a 63-year-old White man. Federal agents are at the address listed to Warner.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Doug Korneski said Saturday there is no indication of additional explosive threats. He said officials had received about 500 tips and are “not working on any assumptions.”