Nashville blast targeted infrastructure, mayor says

David Cohen

Nashville's mayor on Sunday characterized the baffling Christmas morning explosion that extensively damaged downtown Nashville as an infrastructure attack.

"Those of us in Nashville realize that on Second Avenue there is a big AT&T facility and the truck was parked adjacent to this large, historic AT&T facility," said Mayor John Cooper on CBS' "Face the Nation."

Cooper added: "To all of us locally, it feels like there has to be some connection with the AT&T facility and the site of the bombing. ... it’s got to have something to do with the infrastructure."

Emergency personnel work near the scene of a Christmas morning explosion in downtown Nashville, Tenn.
Emergency personnel work near the scene of a Christmas morning explosion in downtown Nashville, Tenn.

A recreational vehicle exploded early Friday morning in downtown Nashville. Before it did, a warning was heard from the RV that a bomb was going to go off, complete with a timed countdown. That warning gave police time to evacuate just about everyone in the area, reducing potential injuries.

Whether or not the blast was intended to target the AT&T building, it did disrupt telecommunications in Tennessee and neighboring states, including air traffic controls. According to the Associated Press, emergency systems in Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky were disrupted, along with Nashville's Covid hotline and some hospital systems.

The explosion also wrecked businesses already hurt by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The damage on Second Avenue is not dissimilar than what the tornado inflicted on Nashville and bigger parts of Nashville rather than just on one street," Cooper told host Margaret Brennan.

Though reports have indicated that law enforcement had identified a person of interest in the case, no arrests have been made. Nashville police on Sunday afternoon identified that person as Anthony Quinn Warner.

"I think there's a lot of public interest," Cooper said, "because it's so shocking that on Christmas morning, this time of greatest hope, you have a bombing, a deliberate bombing. How can this be? And the public, I know, is anxious to try to understand it better."