Law enforcement agents have confirmed that Anthony Warner is believed to have set off a bomb in downtown Nashville on Christmas morning. The blast damaged dozens of buildings and disrupted internet and cell service for hundreds of miles.
The man behind the explosion died at the scene, officials say. But without a suspect to interview, many questions remain. Here’s what we do and don’t know about Friday’s bombing:
- Who is Anthony Warner and did he act alone?
Besides the fact that Warner was 63 and, until a few weeks ago, owned property in Antioch, we still don’t know much about the culprit behind Friday’s blast. Officials spent hours Saturday searching Warner’s former home, which he gifted to a woman who lives in Los Angeles last month. They say DNA collected from Warner’s items, as well as from relatives, matched with tissue found at the site of the explosion.
Officials say Warner was not on their radar before the incident and are still pursuing hundreds of leads to determine his motives. They do not believe the city faces any other threats, or that other potential suspects are on the loose.
“Right now, there is no indication that any other persons were involved,” says Doug Korneski, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Memphis field office.
- Did Warner target the AT&T transmission facility?
Mayor John Cooper referred to the bombing as an attack on infrastructure during an interview with “Face The Nation” Sunday, saying “it feels like there has to be some connection with the AT&T facility and the site of the bombing.” But so far, law enforcement officials have yet to draw a formal connection. When they announced Warner as the primary suspect in the case, they said they’re still interviewing people who knew the man to determine a motive.
Damage from the bomb, which detonated right outside the facility, ended up shutting down cell phone, internet and emergency service in as many as seven states — even in parts of the Midwest, according to AT&T.
- Was this an act of terrorism?
Officials are not calling Friday’s bombing an act of terrorism at this point. They say they don’t have enough information yet about Warner’s motives.
“When we assess an event for a domestic terrorism nexus, it has to be tied to an ideology. It’s the use of force or violence in the furtherance of a political or social ideology or event,” Korneski says. “We haven’t tied it to that yet.”
- How long will it take to restore buildings and businesses downtown?
With more than 40 businesses damaged from the bombing, Mayor John Cooper says it will take time for things to get back to normal on Second Avenue, part of the city’s tourism hub. For now, the extensive crime scene is closed off while investigators search through what they’ve called a “giant jigsaw puzzle” of evidence. Many residents and business owners have been unable to access the area while the surrounding blocks remain under curfew.
Police Chief John Drake says “the footprint will get smaller as processing of the crime scene continues.”
Once the site evidence is cleared, Cooper and Gov. Bill Lee have asked the federal government to help rebuild historic Second Avenue.
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) December 26, 2020
Samantha Max is a Report for America corps member.