This story has been updated.
Authorities have confirmed that a person of interest in the Christmas morning bombing of the 2nd Ave. district in Nashville died in the blast, while they continue to search for what motivated the bombing, including the potential that paranoia over 5G networks are being used to spy on the public.
On Saturday (12-26), local and federal police exercised a search warrant of the home of 63-year-old Anthony Quinn Warner in the Antioch neighborhood of Nashville, just south and east of downtown. They left with numerous pieces of evidence, including a computer motherboard. Police were led to the residence by neighbors and Google map street-level photos that showed an RV similar to the one used in the bombing located at the residence.
Prominent Nashville realtor Steve Fridrich contacted police after he saw the name of the person of interest, and believed it to be the same person as a Tony Warner who had performed subcontracted computer technology work for him. Fridrich confirms the FBI asked him if Warner seemed obsessed with 5G networks spying on the public, though the realtor said the two had never spoken on the matter. “Nice guy. You know, he was a techie guy – don’t mean anything negative about that. He would do this thing and leave. He didn’t bother anybody,” Fridrich told WSMV.
The detonation of the bomb located in the RV occurred right beside a building owned by AT&T that houses telecommunications infrastructure. The blast knocked out AT&T service to large swaths of the middle Tennessee area, and also impacted parts of Kentucky, Alabama, and other nearby locations. Flights were also disrupted at Nashville’s airport due to the outage.
Nashville police also said on Saturday they are investigating whether human remains found at the blast site are that of Anthony Quinn Warner, and later confirmed the remains belonged to Warner. No other individuals are reported as missing from the area, which had been evacuated by police after they arrived on the scene, and heard the RV broadcasting that there was a bomb in the vehicle, and to leave the area.
Witnesses of the blast said they first heard rapid gunshots at 4:30 in the morning, and called police. Metro Nashville police responded to the reports, and found the RV parked in front of the AT&T building right before 6:00 a.m., broadcasting that it was a bomb, and warned people to leave the area before starting a 15-minute countdown. Nashville police began evacuating the area, and called the department’s hazardous devices unit, who was en route to the scene when the explosion happened at about 6:30 a.m Christmas morning.
Recently, Anthony Quinn Warner had transferred ownership of two separate Nashville properties to a 29-year-old woman now living in Los Angeles who had attended college in Tennessee. Though quitclaim deeds, Warner transferred ownership of the house raided on Saturday to Michelle Swing on November 25th, and had transferred ownership of another house on the same street in 2019. The two homes are valued at near $409,000. Michelle Swing then used a quitclaim deed to transfer the first home to another woman, and was unaware the second home had been recently transferred to her name, according to Daily Mail.
Though the target may have been telecommunications infrastructure in the area, dozens of local businesses were severely damaged or destroyed in the blast. Though business owners and the media are not allowed into the immediate area due to the ongoing investigation, The Melting Pot restaurant and Pride and Glory Tattoo are said to be total losses, with Rodizio Grill Nashville, Lonnie’s Western Room, Old Spaghetti Factory, Doc Holiday’s, Dick’s Last Resort, Hooter’s, and other businesses receiving damage. 41 total buildings received damage in the explosion. The George Jones museum and restaurant, as well as The Wildhorse Saloon owned by the Grand Ole Opry’s parent company also received minor damage in the incident.
Along with the property damage , three people were injured in the blast. The numbers could have been higher if not for six Nashville police officers evacuating the area before the blast occurred. The narrow 2nd Ave. corridor is also home to numerous residents, and includes some of the oldest and most historic buildings in Nashville since the street straddles the Cumberland River shore. Many of the street’s brick buildings extend to 1st Ave., and overlook the Cumberland.
Late Sunday evening (12-27), Nashville police released new footage of the blast (see below).
This is video of Friday morning's explosion recorded by an MNPD camera at 2nd Ave N & Commerce St. pic.twitter.com/3vaXhoUOAR— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) December 28, 2020