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Authorities identify man responsible for Christmas Day bombing in Nashville

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Federal authorities identified on Sunday the man they say is responsible for the Christmas Day bombing and said that he died in the explosion.

Investigators in Nashville examine the site of an explosion on Sunday. Authorities said the man believed to be responsible died in the blast.(Mark Humphrey/The Associated Press) 

Authorities said the man suspected of setting off a bomb in a recreational vehicle that rocked downtown Nashville on Christmas Day died in the explosion.

U.S. Attorney Don Cochran identified the suspect on Sunday as Anthony Quinn Warner.

Investigators said they used DNA to identify the remains found at the scene as Warner’s. The FBI said it also matched the RV’s vehicle identification number to a registration belonging to Warner.

“We’re still following leads, but right now there is no indication that any other persons were involved,” said Douglas Korneski, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Memphis field office. “We’ve reviewed hours of security video surrounding the recreation vehicle. We saw no other people involved.”

In publicly identifying the suspect and his fate, officials disclosed a major breakthrough in their investigation — even as they acknowledged the lingering mystery behind the explosion, which took place on a holiday morning well before downtown streets were bustling with activity and was accompanied by a recorded announcement warning anyone nearby that a bomb would soon detonate.

Nashville explosion wounds 3 people

The CBC’s Derek Stoffel reports on the latest developments on the explosion that shook the largely deserted streets of downtown Nashville early Christmas morning. 

No motive was disclosed by investigators, nor was it revealed why Warner had selected the particular location for the bombing, which injured three people. It also damaged an AT&T building and has continued to wreak havoc on cellphone service and police and hospital communications in several southern states.

AT&T CEO Jeff McElfresh said in a statement that 96 per cent of its wireless service has been restored, along with 60 per cent of AT&T’s business services and 86 per cent of the company’s consumer broadband and entertainment services. He said the company’s goal is to restore all service by late Sunday.

Warner, who public records show had experience with electronics and alarms and who had also worked as a computer consultant for a Nashville realtor, had been linked to the bombing since at least Saturday, when federal and local investigators converged on a home in suburban Nashville linked to him.

‘This is going to tie us together forever’

At a news conference on Sunday, five Nashville police officers who were on the scene early on Friday provided details of the dramatic moments around the explosion, when they scrambled to evacuate homes and buildings and called for a bomb squad, which was en route when the motor home blew up.

Nashville police officer James Wells, shown at a news conference on Sunday, talks about security cameras he could see on a recreational vehicle that exploded Christmas morning. Wells is one of six officers credited with evacuating people before the blast in the city’s downtown.(Mark Humphrey/The Associated Press) 

Officer Amanda Topping said she initially parked her police car beside the RV while responding to the call before moving it once she heard the recording playing. Topping said she called her wife to let her know that “things were just really strange” as she helped guide people away from the RV.

That’s when she heard the announcement from the RV switch from a warning to playing the 1964 hit Downtown by Petula Clark. Moments later, the explosion hit.

The officers, who were initially responding to reports of gunfire in the area, have been hailed as heroes by city leaders.

“This is going to tie us together forever, for the rest of my life,” Officer James Wells, who suffered some hearing loss due to the explosion, told the news conference. “Christmas will never be the same.”

With files from Reuters

Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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