The Nashville bomber smiled and told his neighbor ‘the world is never going to forget me’ days before the Christmas Day explosion that left three people injured, and officials are investigating whether he had his dogs with him when he blew up his RV.
Rick Laude recalled how he had a small chat with his neighbor Anthony Quinn Warner, 63, who officials say was the perpetrator of the Friday bombing, less than a week before the attack.
He saw Warner standing at his mailbox and pulled over his car to talk. Laude asked Warner how his elderly mother is doing and casually asked, ‘Is Santa going to bring you anything good for Christmas?’
Warner then cracked a smile and said, ‘Oh, yeah, Nashville and the world is never going to forget me.’
At first Laude didn’t think much of the remark saying, ‘Nothing about this guy raised any flags. He was just quiet.’
Then on Friday around 6.40am a white RV rigged with bombs exploded outside the AT&T building on 2nd Avenue in downtown Nashville, destroying over 40 businesses, and Warner was confirmed to have perished in the blast.
On Monday the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Memphis released a new photo of Warner showing him leaning out of what appears to be his white RV.
Investigators said they’re looking into whether Warner had his pet dogs with him in the RV when it detonated.
When asked about if Warner’s dogs perished alongside him in the blast, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director David Rausch said Monday: ‘That, we don’t know yet. That’s still information that we’re trying to determine, all of that detail.’
The Nashville bomber smiled and told his neighbor ‘the world is never going to forget me’ days before the Christmas Day explosion that left three people injured, and officials say he may have had his dogs with him when he blew up his RV. On Monday the FBI in Memphis released this new photo of Warner showing him leaning out of what appears to be his white RV
Warner appeared to target the AT&T transmission building in Nashville (above) in the Friday morning explosion
Warner had several dogs over the years. He was known to own two Shetland sheepdogs and a larger dog he adopted, according to his neighbor of 25 years Steve Schmoldt.
He said Warner ‘took really good care of his dogs.’
Warner even built a wheelchair ramp at his home so the dogs didn’t have to use the stairs, one neighbor said to The Tennessean.
Warner also said in a letter to a Los Angeles woman he gifted his $160,000 house to in November that he ‘intended to travel on Christmas Eve to spend a few weeks in the woods with his dogs.’
Christmas bomber Anthony Quinn Warner claimed to have cancer before the attack
Investigators are still trying to piece together a motive for the bomb. Officials say Warner’s mother is cooperating with investigators.
Warner left behind clues that suggest he planned the bombing and intended to kill himself.
‘We hope to get an answer. Sometimes, it’s just not possible,’ David Rausch, the director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said Monday in an interview on NBC’s Today show.
‘The best way to find motive is to talk to the individual. We will not be able to do that in this case.’
A Sunday report from the New York Times details preparations Warner made in the weeks prior to his suicide attack, including telling his ex-girlfriend that he had cancer and giving her his car.
However, it is unclear whether he indeed had cancer.
On December 5, he also told a real estate agent that he worked for as a tech consultant that he planned to retire, according to the newspaper.
A month before the bombing, Warner gave away the $160,000 home he lived in to a a 29-year-old, Los Angeles-based woman named Michelle Swing, whose ties to him are unclear, DailyMail.com first reported Saturday.
A property record dated November 25 indicates Warner transferred the home to the Swing in exchange for no money after living there for decades. Her signature is not on that document.
The explosion took place before downtown streets were bustling with activity and was accompanied by a recorded announcement from the RV (pictured) warning anyone nearby that a bomb would soon detonate
Investigators remove items from the basement of Warner’s home in Antioch, Tennessee, on Saturday afternoon. A source close to the investigation said authorities are combing Warner’s digital footprint in their search for a motive
Lifelong bachelor Anthony Warner mysteriously gave his family’s home to 29-year-old, Los Angeles-based woman Michelle Swing (above), whose ties to Warner are unclear
Investigators are now analyzing Warner’s belongings collected during the investigation, including a computer and a portable storage drive, and continue to interview witnesses as they try to identify a motive for the explosion, a law enforcement official said.
A review of his financial transactions also uncovered purchases of potential bomb-making components, the official said.
Investigators used some items collected from the vehicle, including a hat and gloves, to match Warner’s DNA and DNA was taken from one of his family members, the official said.
The official could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
Warner had worked as a computer consultant for Nashville real estate agent Steve Fridrich, who said Warner told him he was retiring earlier this month.
Officials said Warner had not been on their radar before Christmas. A law enforcement report released Monday showed that Warner’s only arrest was for a 1978 marijuana-related charge.
‘It does appear that the intent was more destruction than death, but again that’s all still speculation at this point as we continue in our investigation with all our partners,’ Rausch added.
The freelance IT consultant, whom neighbors described as an ‘oddball’, was ‘heavily into conspiracy theories’, a source close to the investigation told DailyMail.com.
Warner believed 5G cellular technology was killing people, and may have been spurred on in the conspiracy theory by the 2011 death of his father, who worked for telecom BellSouth, which later merged with AT&T.
The bombing badly damaged a critical AT&T transmission center, wreaking havoc on phone communications in multiple states that the company is still racing to resolve.
Electronic devices seized from Warner’s former home in Antioch, a suburb of Nashville, have been sent to a digital forensics laboratory to unlock his online activity and find out where he discussed his warped views.
‘We are waiting on the digital footprint that should finally provide us with some answers,’ a source explained.
‘The unofficial motive thus far is the suspect believed 5G was the root of all deaths in the region and he’d be hailed a hero.’
Forensic analysts are also reviewing evidence from the blast site to try to identify the components of the explosives as well as information from the U.S. Bomb Data Center for intelligence and investigative leads, according to a law enforcement official who said investigators were examining Warner’s digital footprint and financial history.
Investigators continue to examine the site of an explosion Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, in downtown Nashville, Tenn. An explosion that shook the largely deserted streets of downtown Nashville early Christmas morning shattered windows, damaged buildings and wounded multiple people. Authorities said they believed the blast was intentional. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Nashville Police Chief John Drake, left, joins a group of police officers as they embrace after speaking at a news conference Sunday. The officers are part of a group of officers credited with evacuating people before an explosion took place in downtown Nashville early Christmas morning
The official, who was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity, said federal agents were examining a number of potential leads and pursuing several theories, including the possibility that the AT&T building was targeted.
Korneski said Sunday that officials were looking at any and all motives and were interviewing acquaintances of Warner’s to try to determine what may have motivated him.
The explosion took place before downtown streets were bustling with activity and was accompanied by a recorded announcement warning anyone nearby that a bomb would soon detonate.
Then, for reasons that may never be known, the audio switched to a recording of Petula Clark’s 1964 hit ‘Downtown’ shortly before the blast.
In addition to the DNA found at the blast site, investigators from the Tennessee Highway Patrol were able to link the vehicle identification number recovered from the wreckage to an RV registered to Warner, officials said.
‘We’re still following leads, but right now there is no indication that any other persons were involved. We’ve reviewed hours of security video surrounding the recreation vehicle. We saw no other people involved,’ Korneski said.