Anthony Quinn Warner is said by neighbours to have been devoted to his dogs, and had even built a ramp at his home so that they wouldn’t have to use the stairs in their old age.
He told a friend that he was planning to go away with them for a few weeks over the holidays according to reports, leading investigators to examine if the pets were with him in the recreational vehicle at the time of the explosion.
“That, we don’t know yet,” David Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, told reporters on Monday when asked if Warner’s dogs perished with him during his suicide mission.
“That’s still information that we’re trying to determine,” he added.
Warner is believed to have had several dogs over the years, including two Shetland sheepdogs, or “Shelties”, and a larger dog that he adopted.
Neighbour Steve Scholdt said that “he took really good care of his dogs”, explaining to The Tennessean about the ramp.
While those pets have since died, it is unclear how many dogs he had at the time of his death.
He told Michelle Swing, to whom he signed over ownership of two houses for free, that he “intended to travel on Christmas Eve to spend a few weeks in the woods with his dogs”, according to The US Sun.
Ms Swing has passed on the letter he sent her to the FBI and says that she last spoke with him the week before Thanksgiving.
Investigators have said that Warner was not on their radar prior to the bombing, but in August 2019 his girlfriend told police that he was “building bombs in the RV trailer at his residence”, The Tennessean reports.
The Metro Nashville Police Department forwarded the information to the FBI.
Warner blew up a downtown Nashville city block in the early hours of Friday morning, detonating explosives in his camper van outside an AT&T switch facility.
More than 41 buildings were damaged, three people were hospitalised with injuries, and telecommunication systems across the region were crippled for days.
The motive for Warner’s actions remains unknown.