UPDATE: Police say Nashville bomber died in Christmas Day blast, no motive revealed

Federal and Nashville law enforcement officials announced Sunday afternoon that a previously identified person of interest in the Christmas Day bombing, Anthony Quinn Warner, died in the explosion.

During a 5 p.m. ET media briefing, U.S. Attorney Don Cochran identified Warner as the suspect. Officials said they used DNA to determine the human remains found at the blast site were Warner’s.

Police responded on Friday to a report of shots fired when they encountered the RV blaring a recorded warning that a bomb would detonate in 15 minutes. Police evacuated nearby buildings and called in the bomb squad. The RV exploded shortly afterward.

On Sunday, the FBI also said it matched the RV’s vehicle identification number to a registration belonging to Warner. Federal agents and police had searched a home in suburban Nashville associated with Warner.

ExploreChristmas morning explosion rocks downtown Nashville

The bombing injured three people, damaged several buildings and disrupted communications. Officials said they have not yet determined a motive for the bombing. Nashville Police Chief John Drake said a curfew will remain in effect on Sunday evening in areas around the bomb site.

Earlier Sunday, the Tennessean reported Warner, 63, had been linked with the explosion. The media outlet reported Warner is a longtime Nashville resident who has held several IT jobs. Public records, according to the outlet, show Warner to have extensive experience with electronics and alarm systems, and recently worked as an independent computer technician with the real estate firm Fridrich & Clark.

On Saturday, federal agents searched Warner’s home in the Nashville suburb of Antioch and the Fridrich & Clark real estate office in Nashville. It also continued scouring hundreds of tips and leads in the blast, which occurred when an RV exploded on Second Avenue.

“This morning’s attack on our community was intended to create chaos and fear in this season of peace and hope. But Nashvillians have proven time and time again that the spirit of our city cannot be broken,” Mayor John Cooper said at a news conference after issuing a curfew for the area.

Investigators from multiple federal and local law enforcement agencies were at a home in Antioch, in suburban Nashville, after receiving information relevant to the investigation, said FBI Special Agent Jason Pack. Another law enforcement official, who was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said investigators regard a person associated with the property as a person of interest.

Federal agents could be seen looking around the property, searching the home and the backyard. A Google Maps image had shown a similar recreational vehicle parked in the backyard when the photo was captured in May 2019; an AP reporter at the scene did not see the vehicle at the property in the late afternoon Saturday.

There were other signs of progress in the investigation, as the FBI revealed that it was looking at a number of individuals who may be connected to it. Officials also said no additional explosive devices have been found, indicating no active threat to the area. Investigators have received around 500 tips and leads.

“It’s just going to take us some time,” Douglas Korneski, the special agent in charge in charge of the FBI’s Memphis field office, said at a Saturday afternoon news conference. “Our investigative team is turning over every stone” to understand who did this and why.

The chief said investigators at the scene “have found tissue that we believe could be remains, but we’ll have that examined and let you know at that time.” Police could not say whether it potentially came from someone inside the RV.

Beyond that, the only known casualties were three injured people. The infrastructure damage, meanwhile, was broadly felt, due to an AT&T central office being affected by the blast. Police emergency systems in Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama, as well as Nashville’s COVID-19 community hotline and a handful of hospital systems, remained out of service.

In an image released by the Metro Nashville Police Department, the RV that later exploded is driven through downtown Nashville during the early-morning hours of Christmas, Dec. 25, 2020. Three people were injured when the RV exploded at about 6 am on the normally-bustling 2nd Avenue, in what police said was apparently an intentional act. (Metro Nashville Police Department via The New York Times) -- FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY --
In an image released by the Metro Nashville Police Department, the RV that later exploded is driven through downtown Nashville during the early-morning hours of Christmas, Dec. 25, 2020. Three people were injured when the RV exploded at about 6 am on the normally-bustling 2nd Avenue, in what police said was apparently an intentional act. (Metro Nashville Police Department via The New York Times) -- FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY --

The building contained a telephone exchange, with network equipment in it, but the company has declined to say exactly how many people have been impacted.

Asked whether the AT&T building could have been a possible target, Korneski said, “We’re looking at every possible motive that could be involved.”

On Sunday, AT&T said more than 75% of mobility sites affected by the explosion have been restored.

Investigators shut down the heart of downtown Nashville’s tourist scene — an area packed with honky-tonks, restaurants and shops — as they shuffled through broken glass and damaged buildings to learn more about the explosion.

Cooper has enforced a curfew in the downtown area until Sunday via executive order to limit public access to the area. More than 40 buildings were affected.

Ray Neville, president of technology at T-Mobile, said on Twitter that service disruptions affected Louisville, Nashville, Knoxville, Birmingham and Atlanta. “We continue to see service interruptions in these areas following yesterday’s explosion. Restoration efforts continue around the clock & we will keep you updated on progress,” he said in a tweet Saturday.

The outages had even briefly grounded flights at the Nashville International Airport, but service was continuing normally as of Saturday. The Federal Aviation Association has since issued a temporary flight restriction around the airport, requiring pilots to follow strict procedures until Dec. 30.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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