After the Christmas morning RV explosion that wreaked havoc in Nashville, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said suspected bomber Anthony Quinn Warner—who died in the blast that injured at least eight people, seriously damaged dozens of buildings, and disrupted telecommunications across the Southeast—had not been "on our radar." But evidence is emerging that both state officials and the feds were in the know about threats the 63-year-old had made, and that no apparent actions were taken in response, per the Tennessean and Wall Street Journal. Key among those findings: a report to the authorities from Warner's own girlfriend. More on the latest developments:
- The call to cops: A Metro Nashville Police Department report from last summer notes that on Aug. 19, 2019, police responded to a call involving Warner's girlfriend, IDed by CNN as Pamela Perry. When cops got to Perry's home, she was on the porch with two unloaded guns nearby that she said belonged to Warner. "She related that ... she did not want them in the house any longer," MNPD rep Don Aaron says in a statement, per the Tennessean. She also told police Warner "was building bombs in the RV trailer at his residence."
- From Warner's lawyer: Police went to the home after Raymond Throckmorton III, a lawyer who represented both Perry and Warner, reported Perry was expressing suicidal thoughts. When police followed up with Throckmorton, he told them Warner "frequently talks about the military and bombmaking" and that he "knows what he is doing and is capable of making a bomb," per the report.
- A visit to Warner's home: Cops then headed to Warner's residence. He didn't answer his door, and though police could see the RV on his property, it was fenced off and they couldn't see inside it. "They saw no evidence of a crime and had no authority to enter his home or fenced property," Aaron notes. Instead, they filed a report with their supervisors. The MNPD then sent the report to the FBI.
- Coming up short: The FBI could find no records on Warner. Aaron notes that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives also had nothing on him. The police did call Throckmorton about a week later, but the attorney said his client "did not care for the police"; he wouldn't let them interview Warner or inspect the RV. "At no time was there any evidence of a crime detected and no additional action was taken," Aaron says.
- Not much of a rap sheet: Warner had just one previous arrest on record—for pot possession, in January 1978.
- A belief in 'lizard people'?: Sources in the know about the investigation tell ABC News that authorities are looking further into evidence of Warner being interested in various conspiracy theories, including that he may have been paranoid about 5G cellular technology, and that he believed there were "lizard people" existing among us in human form and determined to take over the world.
- A head-scratching warning: Writing for the Washington Post, Joseph M. Brown analyzes why Warner may have set off an audio message from the RV telling residents to evacuate before it exploded. Brown says his research has shown that terrorists who want to convince people their cause is just sometimes try to avoid bloody mass casualties. They can "level buildings and infrastructure, projecting strength to their foes, while sparing most civilians and projecting an image of relative restraint," he writes.
- A 'darker reason': Brown notes that the RV inexplicably shifting from blasting a warning to Petula Clark's "Downtown" may have been a way to confuse and lure police officers to the scene. "That possibility reveals how complex terrorist threats can be," he writes, noting that "the same warning that spares civilian life can put security forces at deadly risk."
- Clark responds: On Tuesday, the 88-year-old British singer posted a statement of "shock and disbelief," per Rolling Stone. "I love Nashville and its people," she wrote. "Why this violent act—leaving behind it such devastation? ... I would like to wrap my arms around Nashville—give you all a hug."
- Crime scene cleanup: The area in downtown Nashville where the bomb detonated is a mess, and FBI and ATF investigators are still sifting through the rubble. For local business owners, it's new chaos on top of the chaos that already existed due to the pandemic. "Right when we get a little light at the end of the tunnel, it all goes away in two seconds," one tells CNN.
- Still no motive: "What was [Warner's] goal in the suicide bombing? Did he even have one?" CNN asks those questions, and authorities still don't have answers. One possible link that investigators are exploring, per TBI Director David Rausch: Warner's father used to work for AT&T. The detonated RV had been parked outside of an AT&T transmission building.
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