NASHVILLE – A girlfriend of the man who officials said detonated a bomb in downtown Nashville on Christmas called police to his home last year, claiming he made bombs at the campsite -car parked there, according to a police incident report.
An attorney for the girlfriend, according to the document filed with the Metro Nashville Police Department, told officers that her boyfriend, Anthony Warner, “talks frequently about the military and bombing.” The call to police was reported on Tuesday by The Tennessean and WTVF-TV, a Nashville station.
The girlfriend met with police at her home on August 21, 2019, according to the report and a subsequent police statement. Officers then proceeded to Mr. Warner’s home, a two-bedroom duplex in the Antioch neighborhood of Nashville.
Officers knocked on the door but “received no response,” according to the report obtained by the New York Times. The campervan, which has been identified by state and federal authorities as the one that exploded in downtown Nashville, injuring three people and disrupting telecommunications in the area, was parked behind a fence. Officers wrote that they observed “several security cameras and wires attached to an alarm panel on the front door.”
The report, dated August 21, said officers who answered the call notified their superiors in the police department. Efforts to reach the lawyer who represented the girlfriend on Tuesday evening failed.
Police Department spokesman Don Aaron said in a statement that police “saw no evidence of a crime and had no authority to enter his home or any fenced property.”
Mr Aaron said the police forwarded Mr Warner’s incident report and information to the FBI. The police statement said the FBI “found no records on Warner.” The girlfriend’s lawyer also represented Mr. Warner, according to police, and the lawyer later told police that he “would not allow his client to allow a visual inspection of the motorhome.”
At a press conference ahead of Tuesday’s revelations, law enforcement officials said Mr Warner had not had their attention prior to the attack. His file included only one arrest: a charge of possession of marijuana in 1978, when he was 21 years old.
“He was not on our radar,” said David B. Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. “It was not a person identified as a person of interest for the office. We were therefore not familiar with this individual until this incident.
Mr Warner, 63, was an information technology specialist who had worked for several companies in the area, and one of his former clients said Mr Warner sent an email this month saying that ‘he was retiring. He signed his home and gave his car to someone he said had cancer, according to law enforcement.
Authorities said that at around 1:22 a.m. on Christmas Day, Mr. Warner drove his RV, filled with explosives, down Second Avenue North in downtown Nashville.
Police responding to a call for shots around dawn found the recreational vehicle as a speaker issued a message warning that explosives were inside and people had to evacuate.
The explosion devastated several blocks of downtown, causing one building to collapse, damaging dozens more and causing fires and flooding at an AT&T transmission facility that ultimately led to blackouts Widespread communication services – for 911 centers, hospitals, businesses and residents – across the region.
No one other than Mr. Warner was killed in the shelling, officials said. He quickly emerged as a person of interest after investigators found the vehicle identification number for the RV, and federal agents searched the house Nashville officers had once visited on Saturday.