A suspect has been named in the Christmas Day Nashville explosion case

Monday, 28th December 2020, 10:11 am
Updated Monday, 28th December 2020, 10:11 am

As most Americans woke on Christmas morning ready for a day of celebration, police were called to noise of gunshots in a downtown area of Nashville, Tennessee.

As officers reached the scene, they found a campervan broadcasting a warning for people to evacuate, before it exploded. Investigators have now identified the DNA of the only suspect thought to be responsible for the deliberate explosion.

So what happened and who was involved? This is what you need to know.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

What happened in Nashville on Christmas Day?

At around 6am on 25 December, police were called to reports of gunshots on 2nd Ave N, Nashville - an area known for its restaurants and nightlife.

When officers responded, they found a campervan which had been playing the song Downtown by Petula Clark, blasting a warning that people should leave the surrounding area. Just minutes later, a blast from the campervan caused the vehicle to explode, knocking an officer to the ground and leaving the street in ruins.

Trees fell around it, buildings sustained damage, windows were blown out and telecoms in the area were significantly disrupted.

The campervan had been parked outside a building used by telecommunications company AT&T.

According to the telecoms giants, telephone, internet and fibre optic TV services were affected in Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia, as were police emergency service communications.

DNA collected from the scene was identified on 27 December by Nashville officials.

Who was involved in the bombing?

The DNA has proven to belong to an IT worker and local resident, Anthony Quinn Warner. It has been reported by CNN that the DNA found at the scene was compared to his mother’s.

The 64 year old suspect was the owner of the campervan, which had been caught on CCTV camera driving into the area at around 1.20am on the Friday morning - more than four hours before gunshots were reported.

Warner was well versed in IT systems and had extensive knowledge of electronics, it has been reported.

The FBI is investigating the incident but stated it does not believe anyone else was involved in the bombing. The explosion is thought to have been a deliberate act of terrorism.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Douglas Korneski explained, “We're still following leads but right now there is no indication that any other persons were involved."

Was the terrorist known to the police?

It has not yet been confirmed whether Warner had any previous convictions or was investigated as a terrorism threat. However, the DNA profile being carried out against his mother’s may mean his DNA was not on record, suggesting that he did not have former convictions.

His neighbours in Antioch - a Nashville suburb - have alluded to the IT worker being a quiet man who did not cause any reasons for concern.

Warner left his job of four years suddenly this month. His former manager explained it had come as a shock. Steve Fridrich told the Nashville Tennessean the move had been "quite out of character.”

USA Today reported that Steve Schmoldt, a neighbour of Warner’s for over 20 years, said he was "friendly," though "some people would say he's a little odd."

Schmoldt added, "He never had any yard signs or flags in his window or anything like that," suggesting Warner did not share his political or religious beliefs in the community. The alleged terrorist was also described by another nearby resident as "a computer geek.

Was anyone else injured?

It has not been reported that there were any further fatalities or casualties as a result of the explosion.

There have been no further reports on the health of the police officer who was knocked to the ground at the scene.