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Nashville bombing: local Anthony Quinn Warner said to be person of interest

Nashvillian said to own motorhome similar to the one that blew up on Christmas Day

Anthony Quinn Warner is said to be the person of interest identified by police in connection with the huge blast which tore through a section of downtown Nashville early on Christmas Day. He owns a similar make and model of recreational vehicle to the one which played a chilling warning before exploding, according to reports.

The Nashville resident's name was revealed by CBS News, and although the FBI has declined to confirm the reports to date, it has said it is “not looking for another subject” in connection with the bombing. The Bureau did confirm that there is currently no indication of further explosive threats, however.

CBS News also reported that the suspect may have been killed in the blast, as investigators perform DNA tests on what they believe could be human remains found at the scene of the explosion.

Authorities also searched a house in the Antioch area of the city on Saturday in connection with their investigation.

Friday's explosion disrupted telecommunications and flight services and prompted a message of support from US president-elect Joe Biden for the Tennessee state capital. Mayor John Cooper also declared a state of emergency in the affected area while Tennessee Governor Bill Lee called on President Donald Trump to issue an emergency declaration to support relief efforts

The White House had said that Mr Trump was briefed on the blast and would receive regular updates. “The president is grateful for the incredible first responders and praying for those who were injured,” it said.

This gallery depicts shots of the reeling city.

Police and federal agents in Nashville sought clues on Saturday to determine how and why a motorhome was blown to pieces, injuring three people and damaging at least buildings in the heart of America's country music capital.

In a dramatic sequence of events that shattered the Christmas morning calm, police responded to calls that gunshots had been fired and noticed the vehicle as they arrived on the scene.

A recorded message playing from the motorhome warned that a bomb would detonate within 15 minutes - enough time for a bomb squad to clear the area before the explosion, police chief John Drake and spokesman Don Aaron told reporters.

The explosion struck at the heart of Nashville's tourist area. Reuters
The explosion struck at the heart of Nashville's tourist area. Reuters

Witnesses told the Tennessean newspaper the warning, spoken in a woman's voice, counted down to the blast.

"Evacuate now. There is a bomb. A bomb is in this vehicle and will explode," one recalled the chilling recording saying.

Such was its ferocity, AT&T phone and internet services in the locale went down. The outage had the knock-on effect of halting flights out of Nashville's airport. Some flights have now been resumed but services remain impacted.

US President-elect Biden has been briefed on the explosion in Nashville and sent thanks to "all the first responders working today" and wished "those who were injured a speedy recovery":

The aftermath was captured on film by local resident Amanda Bagley.

Authorities had earlier said three people were taken to hospital, although none with critical injuries but later reports emerged that human remains had been spotted near the scene.

Law enforcement officers are yet to indicate whether the remains are those of a perpetrator or an innocent victim, according to CBS News.

Smoke and flames could be seen early Friday billowing from the area, which is packed with restaurants but was largely empty at the time.

Buildings shook in the immediate area and beyond after a loud boom was heard.

"We do believe that the explosion was an intentional act," said Mr Aaron.

At 6am local time, police responded to reports of gunshots being fired in the area.

They found no immediate signs of a shooting but officers did notice the suspicious vehicle.

The explosion took place as a bomb squad was on its way. Just before, police had been trying to move people in the nearby area to safety.

Buck McCoy, who lives near the area, posted videos on Facebook that show water pouring down the ceiling of his home.

Alarms blare in the background and cries of people in great distress ring in the background.

“All my windows, every single one of them got blown into the next room. If I had been standing there it would have been horrible,” he said.

The Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau is offering $25,000 reward for information on the explosion.

Updated: December 28, 2020 11:52 AM

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