U.S. officials called Nashville Christmas Day a “bomber,” saying he died in an explosion

The man suspected of setting off a bomb in Nashville that ripped through the center of the southern United States on Christmas morning was named by authorities on Sunday when they confirmed that he died in the explosion.

“We have come to the conclusion that a person named Anthony Warner is the bomber, he was present when the bomb went off and that he died in the bombing,” Federal Prosecutor Don Cochran told a news conference.

The special agent in charge of the FBI’s field office in Memphis, Doug Korneski, said there was no indication that other people were involved, although he added that they were still following the lead.

Authorities at the press conference said they could not provide details of any motive with the investigation, but said Warner had not been on their radar before the blast.

Police had reportedly identified Warner, 63, on Saturday as a “person of interest” in connection with the explosion, which came from a parked motorhome that erupted a warning minutes before it exploded.

They had searched a house in Antioch, a neighborhood in the Nashville area, but refused to confirm at the time if they had a suspect.

Friday’s explosion in historic downtown Nashville, the country’s country music capital, damaged about 40 buildings and injured at least three people, with the streets largely abandoned at an early stage.

Authorities found human tissue at the blast site, which Tennessee Bureau of Investigations Chief David Roush confirmed at the press conference was a match with DNA found in a vehicle used by Warner.

Police said at the time of the explosion that it was an “intentional act” but the motive remained unclear, and the FBI’s behavioral analysts were involved in the investigation.

Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn on Twitter praised law enforcement officials who responded to and investigated the bomb, saying she had asked President Donald Trump to grant Nashville a federal disaster declaration, a technical step that triggers federal aid to repair damage and provide assistance.

According to a timeline provided by the authorities, the police were called to the area to respond to the shooting at 5.30 and officers discovered the motorhome at 06.00.

Fifteen minutes later, they heard a noise drop coming from the vehicle warning of a bomb – mixed with music – and the need to evacuate.

The police have not said if anyone was inside the motorhome at the time, but praised the officials who came to the scene and took quick action.

The motorhome was parked in front of a building for the telephone company AT&T and caused damage that disrupted the telecommunications service in Tennessee and parts of Alabama and Kentucky.

AT&T said in a statement that customers in the three states still experienced interruptions, more than 48 hours later. The company added that more than 25 temporary cell towers and 24 trailers of disaster recovery equipment were deployed in the region to restore service.

(AFP)