Federal authorities say a 63-year-old Antioch man was responsible for a Christmas morning bombing that left the suspect dead and captured the nation’s attention over the holiday weekend as officials worked to determine who parked an RV downtown to detonate.
What motivated him is still unknown.
Hundreds of federal, state and local law enforcement officers worked to solve the case, and just 60 hours after the explosion, agents Sunday evening named Anthony Quinn Warner as the bomber. He died in the blast.
“He was present when the bomb went off and he perished in the bombing,” said Don Cochran, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Through DNA evidence, authorities confirmed Warner’s remains were found at the scene, Cochran said.
“I cannot truly describe all the hard work that has gone into this investigation since Friday’s explosion,” Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake said during Sunday’s announcement. “Nashville is considered safe.”
Police earlier in the day released chilling details about the moments before the bomb detonated on Second Avenue about 6:30 a.m. on Friday, adding to an eerie portrait of a man in an RV who blared evacuation warnings before the explosion demolished a city block.
While acquaintances on Sunday described Tony Warner as a self-employed computer guru — and a homebody who tended to his pets and kept to himself — police officers on the scene before the bomb exploded recalled a strange recording emanating from the RV.
In between a digitized female voice giving warnings to evacuate the area, there was music, the officers said.
“Downtown,” a wistful 1964 song by Petula Clark, echoed down Second Avenue just before the blast.
“When you’re alone and life is making you lonely you can always go downtown,” blared Clark’s voice through the speakers. “When you’ve got worries, all the noise and the hurry seems to help, I know.”
Despite massive destruction to 41 buildings, no one else was killed in the explosion. Officers helped evacuate nearby residents from several apartments.
The RV was parked outside of an AT&T facility, though authorities have not said whether they believe the telecommunications company may have been a target.
The blast caused extensive damage to phone and internet coverage throughout the region, causing communication blackouts for 911 centers in surrounding counties, leaving customers throughout the state without service and exposing vulnerabilities in infrastructure.