‘Computer Geek’: Investigators identify Nashville Christmas explosion suspect

Investigators looking into the RV van explosion in downtown Nashville on Christmas morning have named the suspect based on the DNA collected at the crime scene.

Officials in the US state of Tennessee said the DNA matched that of Anthony Quinn Warner, 63.

Investigators believe that the blast was likely a suicide bombing.

During a press conference on Sunday, federal investigators said they believed that Warner, who worked in IT and had extensive experience with electronics, was the sole individual responsible for the blast and had died at the site.

According to public records, Warner had until recently lived in Antioch, a suburb of Nashville, where police searched a home on Saturday. Neighbours also reported seeing a camper van at the premises, local media report.

Public records cited by US media show Warner had wide experience with electronics and alarm systems.

He was a long-time resident of Nashville and had worked as a freelance computer technician with an estate agency.

His former employer, estate agent Steve Fridrich, told the Nashville Tennessean that Warner had resigned unexpectedly this month after four years with the company. Mr Fridrich said the move had been “quite out of character”.

A neighbour in Antioch described Warner as “a computer geek”, USA Today reported.

Steve Schmoldt, who lived next door to Warner for more than two decades, described him as “friendly” and “low key”, adding: “I guess some people would say he’s a little odd.”

“You never saw anyone come and go,” the newspaper quoted him as saying. “As far as we knew, he was kind of a computer geek that worked at home.”

Mr Schmoldt said Warner gave no indication of having held strong political beliefs.

“He never had any yard signs or flags in his window or anything like that,” he said.

What happened?

An RV exploded around 6:30 a.m. CT in downtown Nashville, Tennessee on Christmas outside a telecoms office disrupted communications systems in Tennessee and four other states.

The explosion left at least three injured.

Before the explosion witnesses reportedly heard a recorded voice from the RV, saying, “Evacuate now. There is a bomb. A bomb is in this vehicle and will explode.”

The voice then started a 15-minute countdown and the RV played music.

Officers, responding to an early morning call on Friday for shots fired, encountered the RV as the recording played, police said. The officers began evacuating nearby buildings.

At least 40 buildings and businesses were damaged in the explosion.