Police confirm Nashville suicide bomber’s identity, still looking for motive
(Update: Adds police confirmation of bomber’s death, other info)
Washington, Dec 27 (efe-epa).- Law enforcement authorities on Sunday identified the vehicle bomber in the Christmas Day Nashville, Tennessee, blast, saying that he had died in the explosion and that there are no other suspects in the incident, although investigators are still looking into why he staged the attack.
At a Sunday afternoon press conference, federal and local authorities confirmed that Anthony Quinn Warner, a white 63-year-old who lived in Nashville’s southeast Antioch neighborhood, was the suicide bomber.
Federal prosecutor for the central district of Tennessee Don Cochran said at the press conference that they had determined – from forensic evidence – that Warner was present when the bomb exploded and that he perished at the scene.
Authorities identified Warner as a possible suspect in the blast thanks to clues provided by local residents and DNA samples that they picked up at his home and compared with the human remains found at the blast site, officers said.
FBI Special Agent in Charge of the investigation Doug Korneski said that at present there are no indications that other people were involved in either planning or carrying out the attack.
Agents are continuing to investigate what motivated Warner to stage the attack, and those answers will not come quickly, Korneski said, adding that people will have to wait until the bomber’s motive is determined to figure out whether this can be classified as an act of domestic terrorism.
Earlier in the day, Nashville Police Chief John Drake identified Warner as the main suspect in what appears to have been a suicide bombing, although he did not rule out the possibility of investigating more people in the blast.
On Saturday, law enforcement authorities searched Warner’s home looking for DNA and other evidence that could link him with the human remains found at the site of the explosion on a downtown street in front of an AT&T building, CNN reported.
The huge explosion on Christmas morning of the RV packed with explosives slightly injured three people in the vicinity and severely damaged dozens of buildings just minutes after a tape recording was played multiple times from the vehicle warning people to evacuate the area.
Local tension continued on Sunday, as authorities arrested the driver of another “suspicious vehicle” on Nashville’s outskirts, this one a white truck, and blocked traffic along a stretch of local highway so they could investigate the matter.
That truck had broadcast an audio message similar to the one heard before the Christmas Day blast, the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
When the recording began being played loudly, the white truck was parked in front of a food store in the town of Walter Hill, located in Rutherford County, some 37 miles (60 km) from downtown Nashville, the local sheriff’s office said.
After starting the audio broadcast, the truck began driving toward the town of Lebanon, in Wilson County, which is also very close to Nashville and where authorities arrested the driver.
Television images on Sunday showed the truck parked along a rural stretch of highway, with no houses around but numerous law enforcement vehicles nearby, including those of the FBI and other agencies, blocking the passage of the truck.
The discovery of the truck seemed to complicate the investigation just when law enforcement authorities seemed to be focusing on a single bomber: Warner, who was an electronics expert who lived in Nashville neighborhood of Antioch.
The FBI on Saturday questioned several of Warner’s acquaintances and asked them if they whether the suspect was afraid of 5G technology, according to several local news stations.
Investigators believe that Warner suffered from paranoia linked to that technology and believed that it could be used to spy on Americans, according to WSMV television.
That could be one of the possible motivations for the bomb attack that investigators are pursuing: the possibility that Warner was aiming to disrupt telecommunications in the area.
The RV blew up as it was sitting in front of a building occupied by AT&T, causing interruption of local landline and cellular telephone service for thousands of people around Tennessee and in parts of the neighboring states of Kentucky and Alabama.