Nashville blast suspect died in explosion

Maria Caspani
·2-min read

The 63-year-old suspect in the bombing that rocked Nashville on Christmas Day morning was killed in the blast that destroyed his motor home and damaged more than 40 businesses.

FBI forensic experts have matched DNA samples recovered from the scene to that of Anthony Q. Warner, whose home in nearby Antioch was searched on Saturday by federal agents.

"We've come to the conclusion that an individual named Anthony Warner is the bomber and he was present when the bomb went off and that he perished in the bombing," US Attorney for Tennessee Donald Cochrantold a news conference on Sunday.

Officials said it was too early in the investigation to discuss the suspect's motives.

Warner's motor home, parked on a downtown street of Tennessee's largest city, exploded at dawn on Friday.

Moments earlier police responding to reports of gunfire noticed it and heard music and an automated message emanating from the vehicle warning of a bomb.

The explosion in the heart of America's country music capital injured three people and damaged businesses including an AT&T switching centre, disrupting mobile, internet and TV services across central Tennessee and parts of four other states.

As investigators followed up on hundreds of tips from members of the public, they searched Warner's home on Saturday and visited a Nashville real estate agency where he had worked on computers.

The owner of Fridrich & Clark Realty, Steve Fridrich, told the Tennessean newspaper for four or five years Warner had come into the office roughly once a month to provide computer consulting services.

That was until this month when Warner told the company in an email he would no longer be working for them. He gave no reason.

"He seemed very personable to us - this is quite out of character I think," Fridrich told the newspaper.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper told CBS News on Sunday local officials felt there had to be some connection between the bombing and the AT&T Inc building.

Damage to the switching centre was so extensive AT&T teams had to drill access holes into the wreckage to connect generators to critical equipment, as well as pump a metre of water from the basement.

The company said in a statement on Sunday it made "significant progress" overnight and had restored power to four floors of the building.

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