Neighbor Recalls Chilling Reply From Nashville Suspect

'Oh, yeah, Nashville and the world is never going to forget me'
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2020 9:50 AM CST
Updated Dec 28, 2020 1:24 PM CST
People Parsing Song Lyrics After Blast in Nashville
This undated image posted on social media by the FBI shows Anthony Quinn Warner.   (Courtesy of FBI via AP)

Authorities seem pretty sure that the Christmas Day explosion in Nashville was the work of a lone 63-year-old bomber who deliberately blew himself up in the process. But why did Anthony Quinn Warner do what he did? That part remains the subject of much speculation. Some are reading into an odd choice made by Warner before the blast—he not only broadcast an automated warning telling people to evacuate, he also played the 1964 song "Downtown" by Petula Clark for everyone in the vicinity to hear. Coverage on that and more:

  • Lyrics: The song begins, “When you’re alone and life is making you lonely, you can always go downtown," notes NewsChannel 5 in Nashville. "When you've got worries, all the noise and the hurry seems to help, I know, downtown." The station describes the song as "haunting," and the Tennessean uses the word "wistful."
  • Jarring quote: The AP talks to a neighbor of Warner's in the Nashville suburb of Antioch who recalls jokingly asking Warner on Dec. 21 if Santa was going to bring him anything good. "Oh, yeah, Nashville and the world is never going to forget me," Rick Lauder remembers Warner replying.

  • Loner: Whether Warner was sending a message with the song is anyone's guess, but the lyrics sync with the profile that has emerged of him: a self-employed IT contractor who largely kept to himself. The Tennessean has a comprehensive look that includes a quote from his high school golf coach in Antioch. “What I can remember about him was essentially three things: quiet, polite, and I don’t like to use the term, but quite frankly nerdish,” says the coach. "He was a very reserved person." Warner was not married, and neighbors tell the Washington Post that they rarely saw him leave home.
  • Location: Much also has been made of Warner's choice to blow up his RV outside an AT&T facility. "To all of us locally, it feels like there has to be some connection," Mayor John Cooper said Sunday. FBI agents have reportedly been asking Warner's acquaintances whether he voiced concerns about 5G technology, but there's no evidence yet that's the case. All kinds of fringe theories exist about 5G, linking it to everything from COVID to election fraud to spying on citizens, notes NewsChannel 5. (Believers have damaged 5G towers.)
  • But: "We may never find the exact reasoning behind the activity that took place," said David Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, on the Today show Monday. He added that Warner's broadcast of a warning suggests "the intent was more destruction than death."
  • House in order: In the last month, Warner notified a real estate company for whom he did work that he was quitting, and he also transferred ownership of his house to a 29-year-old woman in Los Angeles for $0. Her relationship with Warner remains unclear, and she has referred questions to the FBI. Prior to that, the man who lived in the adjoining residence in Warner's duplex tells the Tennessean that Warner had been receiving frequent packages in the mail of late. In fact, he says Warner switched from a PO box to a physical mailbox to accommodate them.
  • Disruption: The explosion disrupted cell communication in several Southern states, though AT&T said Sunday that most of the network has been repaired. Still, “I think this is a wake-up call and a warning for all of us about how vulnerable our infrastructure is, how relatively easy it is for a single individual to do this,” Frank Figliuzzi, former assistant director of counterintelligence at the FBI, said on Face The Nation.
(Read more Nashville bombing stories.)

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