DNA found at the scene of the Christmas day explosion in Nashville matches 63-year-old ‘person of interest’

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Police close off an area damaged by an explosion on Christmas morning on December 25, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. Getty Images/Terry Wyatt
  • DNA remains found at the scene of the Nashville bombing on Christmas Day matched that of 63-year-old Anthony Quinn Warner,The New York Times reported Sunday.
  • The explosion in Nashville linked to a parked RV left three people injured and destroyed much of a downtown street on Christmas Day.
  • Warner was identified by police earlier Sunday as a “person of interest” in connection to the explosion, according to multiple reports.
  • “Anthony Warner is the bomber,” Donald Cochran, the US attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, said at a news conference, citing The Times report. “He was present when the bomb went off and he perished in the bombing.”
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DNA of human remains found at the scene of the Nashville bombing on Christmas Day match 63-year-old Anthony Quinn Warner, The New York Times reported Sunday.

Warner, of Antioch, Tennessee, was identified earlier Sunday by police as a “person of interest” in connection to the downtown Nashville bombing that occurred early on Christmas morning and injured three people, according to CBS News.

Tennessee Highway Patrol identified the vehicle identification number (VIN) from the suspect’s van, which led them to the home of the suspect in Antioch, according to a statement from FBI Memphis Field Office, where further investigation is currently underway.

“Anthony Warner is the bomber,” Donald Cochran, the US attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, said at a news conference, citing The Times report. “He was present when the bomb went off and he perished in the bombing.”

Federal agents converged on Warner’s home in Antioch, Tennessee, on Saturday afternoon and conducted a search. Warner owned an RV that appeared to be a similar make and model to the one used in Friday’s explosion, according to CBS.

Authorities said Friday they believed the blast was “intentional.”

Nashville explosion anthony quinn warner home
Law enforcement officers investigate the house belonging to Anthony Quinn Warner, a 63 year-old man who has been reported to be of interest in the Nashville bombing, on December 26, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. Getty Images/Terry Wyatt

CNN reported Saturday that investigators also believe the explosion may have been a suicide bombing, citing two law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation.

Police and witnesses reported that the RV emitted an audio recording warning that a bomb would detonate in 15 minutes and urging them to flee.

One local business owner told The Tennessean that the RV had been there since at least Thursday night.

“It’s a miracle that no residents were killed,” said Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee in a Saturday morning tweet. Lee said he and his wife toured the site where the explosion occurred and saw “shocking” damage.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced on Saturday that the city will enter a curfew until Sunday afternoon. “This is an active crime scene,” Cooper said. “I would encourage people not to come to downtown Nashville until that curfew is lifted.”

Tennessee’s governor requested federal aid to assist recovery efforts

President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden had been briefed on the incident, the Hill reported.

“The President is grateful for the incredible first responders and praying for those who were injured,” said White House spokesperson Judd Deere.

On Saturday morning, Gov. Lee tweeted out a request for Trump to declare an emergency and allocate federal aid to support recovery efforts.

“Preliminary reports show 41 businesses were damaged by the explosion. These buildings, many of which are historic, and others will need to be assessed by an engineer for structural integrity and safety,” he wrote in a letter requesting emergency assistance.

“The severity and magnitude of the current situation is such that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments,” he added in the letter. “As a result, federal assistance under the Stafford Act is necessary to supplement the efforts and available resources.”

The Stafford Act allows a president to declare an incident or circumstance a national emergency and move federal resources to aid those affected by it.

‘It felt like a bomb.’

Buck McCoy, who lives near the area, told the Associated Press: “All my windows, every single one of them got blown into the next room. If I had been standing there it would have been horrible.”

“It felt like a bomb. It was that big,” he added. Local reports said the explosion could be heard from miles away.

Police say the explosion occurred outside a building on Second Avenue North. They closed a 10-block radius around the explosion site.

Nashville Explosion
Plumes of smoke rise next to the Regions Building near the explosion reported in the area on Friday, Dec. 25, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn. Buildings shook in the immediate area and beyond after a loud boom was heard early Christmas morning Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean via AP

Authorities are not aware of whether anyone was inside the vehicle.

CBS News first reported that possible human remains were found near the explosion, but law enforcement told the outlet it’s still unclear whether the remains belonged to a victim or someone connected to the explosion.

Local and federal agencies, including the FBI, are investigating the incident, according to a press release from the Nashville Police Department. The area has been shut down to accommodate the investigation.

The Federal Aviation Administration has temporarily barred pilots from flying through the airspace above the explosion cite, classifying it as “national Defence Airspace,” according to ABC affiliate WKRN. Pilots flying into the area “may be intercepted, detained and interviewed by law enforcement/security personnel,” WKRN reported.

Service interruptions

As the Tennessean reported, the explosion caused damage to AT&T facilities, which affected service for some in Nashville and other nearby areas, a spokesperson told the outlet. Flights from the Nashville International Airport and emergency lines like 911 access to police was also disrupted as a result of the explosion, the Tennessean reported.

AT&T is actively working with local authorities to repair services, as well as dispatched national disaster recovery teams to fix the problem, the company said in a statementFriday evening.

“Power is essential to restoring wireless and wireline communications and we are working with law enforcement to get access to our equipment and make needed repairs. Given the damage to our facility, it will take time to restore service,” the statement said. “We have already rerouted significant traffic from this facility and are bringing in other equipment, including numerous portable cell sites to the area.”

In a tweet shortly after the incident, Gov. Lee expressed his condolences for those injured.

“We will supply all of the resources needed to determine what happened and who was responsible,” he said, adding he is “praying for those who were injured and we thank all of our first responders who acted so quickly this morning.”

This story is developing. Please check back for more updates.