Suspect in Christmas Day bombing in Nashville acted alone and was driven by ‘paranoia,’ FBI says

NASHVILLE — Federal agents said Monday the Christmas Day bombing in downtown Nashville was motivated by the bomber’s intention to kill himself and was not an act of terrorism.

After a wide-ranging investigation, the FBI said in a report that the bomber, Anthony Quinn Warner, acted “in an effort to end his own life.” The FBI said Warner was motivated by several “stressors” including “paranoia” and several “eccentric” ideas.

“Warner specifically chose the location and timing of the bombing so that it would be impactful, while still minimizing the likelihood of causing undue injury,” the FBI said in a news release.

Multiple agencies converged to investigate the blast, which destroyed some buildings and severely damaged several others along Nashville’s historic Second Avenue.Warner died in the explosion.

Investigators say Warner, 63, used an RV packed with explosives to engulf a city block at about 6:30 a.m. Christmas morning. He announced his presence beforehand and warned people to evacuate through a loudspeaker that played the Petula Clark song “Downtown” and broadcast an eerie countdown in a computerized female voice.

Residents fled from their loft apartments in pajamas as police officers swept through buildings in a desperate attempt to get people out before the blast. Warner was the only person killed.

The RV was parked outside an AT&T switch facility, and the resulting damage crippled telephone and internet services across the region.

Federal agents investigated the possibility the attack might have been motivated by a political ideology or a wide range of baseless conspiracy theories. Authorities said they are aware of conjecture linking the the bombing with conspiracy theories related to the 2020 election and the roll-out of the 5G cellular network, among other things.

The federal probe considered the criminal implications of the bombing and is not related to ongoing local reviews focused on how law enforcement handled early warnings in 2019 that Warner was building explosives.

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