NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Anthony Warner sent packages that “espoused his viewpoints” to people around the country in the days before he blew himself up in an RV on a downtown street Christmas morning, authorities said.
At least three bystanders were injured, but no one else died. A warning blared from the RV for people to move away moments before the blast devastated blocks of downtown.
Authorities have revealed no motive for the bombing. The FBI is investigating the mailed materials.
“We’re aware the suspect sent materials which espoused his viewpoints to several acquaintances throughout the country,” FBI Special Agent Jason Pack said in a statement to The Tennessean, a member of the USA TODAY network.
Anyone who received a package or material from Warner is encouraged to contact the FBI at 800-CALL-FBI, the statement said.
Warner was identified through tips and DNA evidence. Law enforcement came under scrutiny in the case when it was revealed that Warner’s girlfriend told Nashville police in August 2019 that he “was building bombs in the RV trailer at his residence.”
Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake said officers didn’t have enough evidence to seek a search warrant of Warner’s home or RV, and Warner’s attorney told officers they would not be able to search the property.
Police responding to reports of shots fired near the RV on Christmas morning heard recorded warnings coming from the van and evacuated dozens of people from the area. More than 40 buildings were damaged in the explosion, and 10 remain classified as unsafe for use or occupancy. At least two buildings will need to be demolished, Metro Nashville officials said.
An AT&T building took the most damage from the blast, which paralyzed mobile and internet systems in parts of five states. The company reported widespread outages that lasted days, raising questions about vulnerabilities in the nation’s communication infrastructure.
Warner’s father had worked for AT&T, and that connection was among possible motives drawing early attention of law enforcement.
David Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said Warner probably did not intend to kill anyone but himself. Rausch cited the recorded warning and 15-minute countdown heard coming from the RV that gave people time to evacuate.
In the weeks before his death, Warner, 63, gave away his car and signed a document that transferred his longtime home in a Nashville suburb to a California woman for nothing in return, The Associated Press reported, citing an official who could not discuss the matter publicly.
Warner, an independent computer technician, told an employer he was retiring.
Bacon reported from McLean, Va.