Federal agents on Saturday searched the home of Anthony Quinn Warner, 63, in connection with the Nashville explosion on Christmas Day, according to multiple senior federal law enforcement officials.
Authorities said they are investigating whether Warner may have been the person responsible for the bombing, but said they will continue to follow leads. The investigation is taking place at a home in the 100 block of Bakertown Road in Antioch, according to NBC affiliate WSMV.
A Google street view image of the address shows an RV — which identically matches the description of the RV Nashville Police said was used in the bombing — parked in the backyard of Warner’s home. WSMV said the RV was no longer at Warner’s address.
The blast, which police called an “intentional act,” left at least three people injured and destroyed 41 buildings and businesses nearby, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said in a statement.
Tissue was found after the explosion, and authorities are examining it to confirm whether it could be human remains, according to Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake.
The blast also damaged an AT&T building, which disrupted 911 emergency services and temporarily grounded planes at Nashville International Airport. Meanwhile, AT&T said that it had installed two temporary cell towers downtown to provide service and that other portable sites were being set up.
Officers arrived at the scene before the explosion Friday, responding to reports of shots fired around 5:30 a.m., and found a recreational vehicle parked in front of the AT&T building, according to police. A speaker system on the RV was broadcasting a warning about an imminent explosion and telling people to evacuate in what sounded like a recorded female voice.
“They heard the announcements coming from this vehicle, took them seriously and were working to seal the streets to protect folks,” said Metropolitan Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron. “We think lives were saved by those officers doing just that.”
Betsy Williams, who lives near the site of the blast, said she was awakened by the sound of gunfire, followed by the recorded warning. “It said evacuate now, there is a bomb in this vehicle,” she said.
Lee announced Saturday morning that he has requested an emergency declaration from President Donald Trump.
“The severity and magnitude of the current situation is such that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments,” Lee wrote in a statement.
The governor subsequently made a more specific request for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance with recovery and “debris removal,” according to a statement.
Nearly $300,000 has been raised for information in the arrest and conviction of a suspect involved in the explosion. Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. President and CEO Butch Spyridon said Friday that the organization offered $10,000 toward a reward, but the amount has since been raised to $34,500.
“Like everyone, we woke up this Christmas morning to the horrible news of the explosion on Second Avenue. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with all involved or affected,” Spyridon said in a statement. “This is when we show the world who we are. Thank you all for everything you do for our city, and stay safe. I believe in Nashville.”
Clay Travis, a Fox Sports host, also offered $10,000 for anyone who could provide information leading to the arrest of a suspect.
I’m pledging an additional $10k for information leading to the arrest of the downtown Nashville bomber.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) December 25, 2020
On Friday evening, Marcus Lemonis, host of CNBC’s “The Profit,” said on Twitter that he pledged $250,000 toward the reward and expressed his horror over the explosion.
“We can’t have our streets terrorized like this,” Lemonis said. “Let’s spread the word and help the city solve this.”
Officials said they do not know the motive in the bombing, but local and federal authorities are investigating. Currently, officials are tracking down over 500 leads and tips.