NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The FBI closed its investigation into the Christmas-day Nashville RV bombing on Monday, the Memphis field office announced.
The FBI’s investigation found that Anthony Quinn Warner, a 63-year-old self-employed computer specialist from the Antioch area, worked alone in his successful plot to improvise and eventually detonate a vehicle-bound explosive device. A press release added that his actions weren’t related to terrorism.
The blast, which killed Warner, damaged dozens of buildings, and set off car alarms for miles, initially confused federal investigators and civilians alike due to the apparent lack of a motive. Warner took extra steps not to harm any innocent people, parking his vehicle in the early hours of a holiday morning and playing a loud message warning of an imminent explosion to deter any curiosity. Investigators say he wanted to minimize the possibility of “undue injury.”
After the 15-minute warning, the audio switched to Petula Clark’s “Downtown” before detonating. The blast injured three people and tore up a city block.
The FBI assessed that Warner’s motive was a spectacular way at ending his own life, which was marred by a number of negative stress factors including paranoia, eccentric conspiracy theories, and deteriorating relationships. Warner has been described as a ‘loner’ who had previously confessed he was having suicidal thoughts and crafting bombs to his girlfriend. In 2019, Authorities observed Warner’s home upon a weapons tip from his girlfriend, found no evidence of a crime, and left.
“I believe officers did everything they could legally. Maybe we could have followed up more — hindsight is 20/20,” Metro Nashville Police chief John Drake said. “The officers did not have probable cause to get a search warrant. There was a call for service on a lady who had two guns, who needed care, and so we, you know, she needed some assistance. There was nothing else there to say OK, yeah — you have to have probable cause.”
Warner had confided in multiple acquaintances, discussing his deep interest in bombs and explosives as well as conspiracy theories. Warner believed shape-shifting reptiles could take the form of humans and discussed taking trips to hunt aliens. Due to the proximity of the explosion to the AT&T building, many believed Warner might have been motivated by theories regarding 5G Technology, however, the FBI found no “broader ideological motive to use violence to bring about social or political change, nor does it reveal indications of a specific personal grievance focused on individuals or entities in and around the location of the explosion,”
Investigators were able to originally identify Warner through DNA found on a hat left in the RV. They conducted over 250 interviews and received over 2,500 tips leading to information regarding Warner.
In the weeks leading up to the bombing, Warner began getting his affairs in order. The man transferred his home to a California woman for nothing in return and gave his car away, telling the new owner he had cancer.
Less than a week before the Christmas-day blast, Warner politely stood at his mailbox, conversating with a neighbor who had parked his car.
“Is Santa going to bring you anything good for Christmas?” the man asked, jokingly.
Warner smiled for a moment before answering.
“Oh, yeah, Nashville and the world is never going to forget me.” he said.