Updated at 6 p.m. Sunday
The FBI says it’s looking into packages that the suspect in the Christmas morning bombing sent to people he knew before the attack. Officials are still trying to establish a motive for why Anthony Warner blew up his RV in downtown Nashville, which damaged dozens of buildings and affected phone communications in several states.
The packages include pages of conspiracies and thumb drives with videos, according to NewsChannel5. NBC News says officials are also examining Warner’s digital devices.
Warner was a 63-year-old white man who law enforcement originally said had not been on their radar. But last week, Nashville police released a record from 2019 showing that Warner’s girlfriend had reported him for building a bomb. Police and the FBI did not make contact with Warner at the time; official from both agencies have defended how they responded to that report.
The bombing, by the numbers
The Christmas Day bombing in downtown Nashville appears to have affected 400 residents and at least 45 businesses employing 1,200 people.
Officials also say seven buildings in the blast zone are not safe enough for occupancy, with two in danger of collapse. Three more are unsafe but allowing entry for property owners. In all, 46 parcels were affected.
A portion of downtown Nashville has been under curfew. Metro Public Works is still clearing glass and other debris, and Metro Codes says it has completed an initial assessment of buildings for safety and possible disaster relief. The agency is working with outside structural engineers.
In a briefing to the Metro Council Thursday, Police Chief John Drake warned of the potential danger.
Chief Drake says there are two buildings at least that may collapse at any time. Law enforcement does not know much about possible evidence in those buildings because they are unsafe.
— Bob Mendes (@mendesbob) December 31, 2020
The buildings deemed unsafe and inaccessible are all on the east side of Second Avenue North, across from the blast, at addresses 134, 160, 166, 170, 176, 178, and 184 Second Ave. N.
“Because this area is so precious to Nashville — for both historic and aesthetic reasons — all permits for both rehabilitation and for demolition will be reviewed and approved by both the Planning Department and the Historic commission, prior to the issuance of that permit,” Metro Codes Director Bill Herbert said Thursday.
City officials also told the Metro Council that cadaver dogs have indicated there could be human remains inside one of the buildings at risk of collapsing, but investigators believe those are most likely the bomber’s. Seven people were treated for minor injuries from the blast, and so far the only known fatality is that of the bomber.
On Wednesday, the FBI completed its review of the crime scene. Drake said the agency was given jurisdiction so they could investigate the explosion as terrorism.
Donations to help people can be made to the United Way of Greater Nashville, the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and the Community Resource Center of Nashville. Volunteers can help with the cleanup through Hands on Nashville.
People affected by the blast can call 211 or 311 for assistance, or the local chapter of the Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS.
The special operations division of the Nashville Fire Department has been escorting residents to recover belongings. In some cases, department staffers retrieved items from heavily damaged structures.
The FBI's Evidence Response Team completed its work on 2nd Avenue North & turned the site over to the city at 3:30 p.m. MNPD officers will continue to protect the area for the foreseeable future. Some buildings pose a structural danger. pic.twitter.com/YHo2Wgjl9L
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) December 30, 2020
City police, meanwhile, say pedestrian and vehicle traffic was “light to moderate” on New Year’s Eve. Officers made six arrests in the area — three for public intoxication and three for disorderly conduct.
First and Second Avenues are still closed in downtown Nashville, but Third Avenue North reopened to traffic on Thursday. Broadway is fully open other than the hours of escorted visits for those affected.
Update: This story was first updated with information from a Thursday afternoon briefing to the Metro Council and Metro’s latest recovery report from Friday morning. It has been updated again with information about the FBI investigation on Sunday.