Fact check: Nashville blast not caused by missile attack

Social media users claimed an explosion in Nashville on December 25 was caused by a missile attack. This is untrue: the explosion was caused by a bomb in a parked vehicle.

Investigators are working near the scene of an explosion in 2nd Avenue, which occurred the previous day in Nashville, Tennessee, USA December 26, 2020. REUTERS / Harrison McClary

Reports began circulating online from December 26, claiming that the explosion in the central U.S. state of Tennessee ‘was actually a missile attack’ (here, here, here and here).

Others have made similar allegations, for example that a ‘targeted energy weapon’ was captured on camera before the explosion (here) and that the garage, also called a reactionary vehicle or RV, was ‘clearly not the source’ of the explosion ( here).

There is no evidence to substantiate these allegations.

Reuters reported that a garage exploded on Christmas Day around 6 a.m. local time in Nashville, injuring three people (here).

Nashville Police Chief John Drake told reporters that before the explosion, police heard a recorded voice warning that a bomb would explode within 15 minutes. ‘Officers quickly went from door to door in nearby buildings to push people to safety and demanded that the police bomb squad, which was at the scene when the vehicle blew up, be sent, said Don Aaron (police spokesman) (here).

The message, as captured in a recording later broadcast by local television news stations, says: ‘This area must now be evacuated. This area must now be evacuated. If you can hear this message, you must evacuate it now. If you can hear this message, you must evacuate now. ”( here , here)

Nashville police tweeted a picture of the vehicle in a call for information on Dec. 25, writing, “This is the RV that exploded this morning.” (here)

On December 28, they also posted a video capturing the moment the bomb went off in the vehicle (here). No missile or targeted energy weapon can be seen in the footage.

Police say the blast was a “deliberate act” carried out by 63-year-old Anthony Warner, who died in the blast ( here and here ).

Donald Cochran, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Tennessee, said at a news conference: “We came to the conclusion that a person named Anthony Warner was the bomber and he was present when the bomb went off and that he died. during the bombing. . ”(Here).


Untrue. There is no evidence to suggest that the explosion came from a missile or a so-called targeted energy weapon. Information given by police and reported by Reuters says the explosion was caused by a bomb that went off inside Warner’s RV, killing him and injuring three people.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.