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Nashville explosion: Camper van blast suspect named by police

Police investigating a camper van blast that injured three people in Nashville on Christmas Day have named a suspect after DNA was collected at the scene.

Officials in the US state of Tennessee said the DNA matched that of Anthony Quinn Warner, 63.

Investigators believe that the blast was likely a suicide bombing.

On Sunday, the FBI said there was no indication of additional suspects involved and that it was too early to suggest a motive.

The blast outside a telecoms office disrupted communications systems in Tennessee and four other states.

What do we know so far?

Officers responded to reports of gunshots just before 06:00 local time (12:00 GMT) on 25 December in an area of the city known for its restaurants and nightlife.

Shortly afterwards, they found a camper van broadcasting a warning message to leave the area.

Police said the van had also broadcast the 1964 hit song Downtown by British singer Petula Clark, the Tennessean newspaper reported.

The van exploded a few minutes later, the force of the blast knocking an officer off their feet, police said.

General view of the site of an explosion in the area of Second and Commerce in Nashville
The powerful explosion damaged buildings and felled trees

The vehicle blew up outside a building belonging to the telecoms giant AT&T, which also occupies an office tower nearby.

Buildings suffered structural damage, windows were blown out, and trees were felled. Videos posted on social media showed water from damaged pipes running down walls as alarms howled in the background.

Police emergency systems were knocked out across Tennessee. Telephone, internet and fibre optic TV services were also disrupted in Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia, according to AT&T.

Police later released this image of the van arriving at the scene early on Friday.

What is known about Warner?

During a press conference on Sunday, federal investigators said they believed that Warner, who worked in IT and had extensive experience with electronics, was the sole individual responsible for the blast and had died at the site.

They said the blast was probably deliberate, and that it was Warner’s remains discovered at the scene.

“We’re still following leads but right now there is no indication that any other persons were involved,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Douglas Korneski.

Police also released footage of the moment the explosion took place.

According to public records, Warner had until recently lived in Antioch, a suburb of Nashville, where police searched a home on Saturday. Neighbours also reported seeing a camper van at the premises, local media report.

Earlier, CBS News reported that a DNA sample had been collected from Warner’s mother.

Public records cited by US media show Warner had wide experience with electronics and alarm systems.

He was a long-time resident of Nashville and had worked as a freelance computer technician with an estate agency.

His former employer, estate agent Steve Fridrich, told the Nashville Tennessean that Warner had resigned unexpectedly this month after four years with the company. Mr Fridrich said the move had been “quite out of character”.

A neighbour in Antioch described Warner as “a computer geek”, USA Today reported.

Steve Schmoldt, who lived next door to Warner for more than two decades, described him as “friendly” and “low key”, adding: “I guess some people would say he’s a little odd.”

“You never saw anyone come and go,” the newspaper quoted him as saying. “As far as we knew, he was kind of a computer geek that worked at home.”

Mr Schmoldt said Warner gave no indication of having held strong political beliefs.

“He never had any yard signs or flags in his window or anything like that,” he said.

SWIG Magazine
Written By

This article was published by the SWIG Magazine editorial team. Opinions expressed in the article are reflective of the editorial team at the time of writing. Articles are subject to changes. In the case an article has been changed, a notice will appear above this box.

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