A big mobile home exploded on a desolate stretch in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, around 5:30 a.m. on Christmas Day, almost destroying 1building and damaging 41 others breaking windows and spewing shrapnel into an early morning street. Many trees were down, and Second Avenue looked like the burned appearance of a war.
Eight individuals were hurt, including three onlookers who were taken to the hospital. Minor injuries were also sustained by two police officers from Nashvilles who had just reached the area after the RV broadcasted warning warnings.
The message loudly said, “This area must be evacuated now. If you can hear this message, evacuate now.”
The RV involved in the incident, directly across from an AT&T telephone exchange that also served as a switching and transmission facility. According to an AT&T official, the company’s network center was destroyed, affecting mobile and Internet services throughout the Nashville region, central Tennessee, and Kentucky, as well as as far south as Alabama. In a number of cities and municipalities, 911 emergency services were affected.
“Given the damage to our facility, it will take time to restore service,” AT&T wrote on its website. “We have already rerouted significant traffic from this facility and are bringing in other equipment, including numerous portable cell sites to the area.”
Nashville Mayor John Cooper issued an executive order proclaiming a state of civic emergency and instituting a 4:30 p.m. strict curfew in the downtown area.
K-9 teams scoured the area for explosives. Radiation monitors were installed. Public transit has been halted. The FAA momentarily suspended flights into and out of Nashville due to telecommunications problems.
NewsChannel 5 said that it was “intentional bombing”.
Laurie Mylroie, a terrorism analyst, wrote,”some investigators are asking if there is a relationship between the Nashville bombing and the broader right-wing insurgent cause”.
Andrew McCabe, former Deputy FBI Director, told CNN that a large explosion like this would be considered as a probable terrorist attack. He thought that the police may have been the intended target of the explosion as a result of the broadcast. Before the RV detonated, a Nashville police hazardous devices squad was on its way to the scene.
According to Bill Ryan, a retired investigator and former member of the NY Police Department’s arson and explosives task team, the Nashville explosion might be a “trial run” for a larger attack or “a standalone explosion.”
Given the conspiracy theories that had been raised tying 5G to COVID, the key theory of FBI and homeland security experts was the multiple dangers to the telecommunications infrastructure, notably 5G wireless technology.
“The anti-5G movement is strong, and its meld with anti-vaxxers and MAGA supporters is sure to cause many headaches in the months and years ahead,” said a homeland security analyst.
Responding to the terrifying explosion, the Police wrote: “While the exact motive behind the bombing remains unknown, there have been some social media postings concerning conspiracy theories stating that election data stored at the AT&T building was targeted by the bomber. … the 25 December bombing should act as a vivid reminder as to the despair and the dedication to act that exists from a small minority of individuals concerning recent social and political events.”
Mayor Cooper described the occasion as “One more event in Nashville’s 2020.” Nobody wanted additional bad news for Christmas, such as the possibility of terrorism preceding “recent social and political events.” A new consensus emerged that conspiracy theorists, COVID denialists, and pro-Trump people were terrorists or prospective terrorists, especially when these broad groupings were seen as an united mass of gun-owning white nationalists.
Over 250 FBI agents were on the site by the weekend to investigate the Nashville bombing, demonstrating that, after the event, the domestic agencies and the FBI were extremely competent at their jobs.
Forensic examination of human remains retrieved within the Recreational Vehicle, as well as the mobile home’s VIN number, revealed that Anthony Quinn Warner, 63, was the most probable offender. He had been killed in the blast.
Later, the FBI said that Warner’s activities “were determined to not be related to terrorism.”
“Based on analysis of the information and evidence gathered throughout the investigation, the FBI assesses Warner’s detonation of the improvised explosive device was an intentional act in an effort to end his own life, driven in part by a totality of life stressors—including paranoia, long-held individualized beliefs adopted from several eccentric conspiracy theories, and the loss of stabilizing anchors and deteriorating interpersonal relationships,” the FBI said. “The FBI’s analysis did not reveal indications of a broader ideological motive to use violence to bring about social or political change, nor does it reveal indications of a specific personal grievance focused on individuals or entities in and around the location of the explosion.”