Police identify person of interest in Nashville blast

Police officers in Nashville are considered heroes to save lives during a massive Christmas morning bombing, which on Sunday described their swift action to evacuate buildings against a terrifying explosion that led to the explosion and the Petula Clark song “Downtown “coming from a recreational vehicle. stuffed with explosives.

“Immediately they did not think of their own lives. They did not think of themselves. They thought of the citizens of Nashville and protected them and they knocked on the doors,” said John Drake, Metro Nashville police chief. five of the six officers at a news conference. “If they had not made the effort, we would be talking about the tragedy of people and lives lost.”

The police officers of the subway in Nashville, James Luellen, Brenna Hosey, Michael Sipos, Amanda Topping, James Wells and ao. Timothy Miller was described by Drake and Nashville Mayor John Cooper as ‘heroes’.

“I think they can consider what they did was just a regular part of their duties. But we in Nashville know it was extraordinary and it’s exciting to have it in our community, and we have to acknowledge their heroism,” Cooper said in front of each officer. tells of the bombing that damaged at least 41 buildings, set several vehicles on fire and left a huge crater in Second Avenue North.

Human remains were discovered amid the explosion and investigators were trying to determine if it was the owners of the RV, who were informed by various sources of law enforcement informed about the investigation, ABC News identified as Anthony Quinn Warner of Antioch, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville.

A spokesman for the Metro Nashville Police Department confirmed to ABC News on Sunday that Warner was a “person of interest” in the Nashville downtown explosion.

Authorities believe the RV was parked in front of an AT&T transmission building at 1:22 a.m. Friday, but it is still unclear if the building was targeted.

A motive for the bombing, which left three people with minor injuries, is still being investigated.

Federal agents arrived at properties adjacent to Warner in Antioch on Saturday to conduct court-authorized searches, sources told ABC News. A Google Maps Street View image of Warner’s address shows an RV in an enclosed section of the yard that looks like the one used in the blast.

More than 250 FBI personnel from at least seven field offices are investigating in Nashville, including special agents, analysts and professional staff, who conduct interviews, gather evidence and coordinate with partnerships, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms. and explosives, and state and local investigators.

The high-profile drama began playing at about 6 a.m. Friday when officers working the midnight shift received a call of shots fired at a building in 178 Second Avenue North 178, officials said.

Officer Luellen said he was the first one at the scene, and began investigating the gunfire building and requesting the security code to enter. He said the moment Officer Hosey arrived on the scene to back him up, a recorded voice from the RV parked on the street began to issue an urgent warning.

“The RV started making an announcement somewhere, don’t quote me exactly, but it’s: ‘There’s a big bomb in this vehicle. Your main goal is to evacuate,'” Luellen said. “I was not quite sure what I heard, so I looked at Officer Hosey just to verify that we were hearing the same thing, and then it started again.”

He said he was his supervisor, ao. Miller, who told him to ask every available officer to come to the scene and evacuate residents.

When officers began blocking Topping and Wells streets in the area, Luellen, Hosey and Sipos entered an apartment building and started knocking on doors, warning the house of a possible public safety hazard outside. He said residents of about six or seven apartments were then instructed to evacuate a back basement door.

Luellen said he and his colleague then returned to the RV area to move their patrol cars away from it and make sure no other civilians were harmed. He said the curtains of the RV were drawn and there were no registration plates on them.

Hosey remembers the recorded voice coming from RV then starting a chill countdown and saying ’14 minutes to blast ‘. She said the warning was followed by the Petula Clark song ‘Downtown’.

Luellen said the voice of the RV counted down to three minutes before the explosion, he saw a man with a dog coming up from a nearby building. He said just as he yelled at the man to go back, the RV exploded.

“I was knocked to the ground. I got up immediately, fortunately no injury or anything like that. I noticed the gentleman in shock with his dog. I checked him, penetrated him,” Luellen said.

He said he then ran to Miller, who was still in his patrol car. He said the explosion caused the airbag to go off Miller’s patrol car and that the sergeant cut it off when he opened the door.

Hosey remembers seeing a woman with a pram and four children on the street just before the explosion. She said the face put my heart in my throat.

“I ask if I can help her … she has a stroller … and I tell her that there is a serious threat and that we must go. I’m grateful we were able to get her out,” Hosey said. .

She said she was thrown forward by the explosion and hit on the ground.

“I called a loved one to let them know I was OK, and then I ran to the intersection to look at Miller and Luellen to make sure they were okay,” she said, her voice cracking from emotion. “That’s when I got on the radio to make sure Wells was right.”

She said she received no immediate response from Wells.

Wells said the blast caused him to temporarily lose hearing in his left year, and he did not hear Hosey and other officers radio him.

Wells said that when he heard the music from the RV, he feared officers were being ambushed, and began searching the tops of buildings and parking garages by an active shooter.

“At that moment, it really feels and feels like there are going to be secondary activities. So every time we came out of a building, we made sure we looked around and looked at high areas, just to make sure no one was looking around and look at us, ‘said Wells.

He said he was walking back to the RV just before the explosion and “I literally hear God telling me to turn around and go look at Topping, who was alone.”

“To me, it felt like I was just taking three steps, and then the music stopped and as I walked back to Topping, I just saw orange as then I heard a loud blast,” Wells said.

He said the blast caused him to stumble.

“I just said to myself, ‘Stay on your feet, stay alive,'” Wells said. “I just take a full sprint and run to Topping to make sure she’s ready. We get together in the middle and we just grab each other and check on each other. “

He said he shouted at Topping to pull out her gun in case they came under fire.

“It was just weird,” Wells said. “It felt like something out of a movie.”

Topping added it when she grabbed Wells. “I’ve never held anyone like that.” She said I heard Wells voice in that chaotic moment, “led me to see my kids at Christmas.”