On December 25, 2020, at 6:30 am, a bomb shook downtown Nashville, Tennessee. The blast occurred just off of Broadway on 2nd Avenue North, just across from an AT&T network facility. The explosion was caused by a car bomb carried in a Thor Motor Coach RV that was detonated by a suicidal man.
The blast didn’t kill anyone except the bomber. The usually packed area was quiet due both to the time of day and the fact that it was Christmas morning. The police were called to the scene of the bombing by people reporting gun shots. Cops didn’t see a gunman but did hear a female voice coming over the loudspeaker of the RV warning all residents that a bomb would go off and to flee the area. Cops jumped into action, setting up police lines and evacuating nearby buildings. Not knowing what to expect, cops stood by Nashville Police Bomb Squad. Just before their arrival the RV went up in a terrific explosion, injuring eight people and killing the bomber.
The bomber was quickly identified as the owner of the RV, Anthony Warner, a 63-year-old longtime resident of Nashville. Warner seemed to have deteriorated in recent years and did not seem to have a firm grip on reality. He harbored several conspiracy theories and spent time in state parks searching for aliens. Warner was also apparently a former AT&T employee, according to his former girlfriend. “She knew that he harbored some animosity toward AT&T for some bizarre reason. He worked there, was familiar with the building and knew what they did there.”, said one source.
The FBI assessed Warner’s detonation of the improvised explosive device as an intentional act in an effort to end his own life. He was driven in part by a “totality of life stressors – including paranoia, long-held individualized beliefs adopted from several eccentric conspiracy theories, and the loss of stabilizing anchors and deteriorating interpersonal relationships.”
Warner’s sad end is actually an outlier for Christmas suicides. Despite anecdotes to the contrary, the CDC reports that December has the lowest suicide rate of any month of the year. Fortunately no one else was killed by this person who clearly needed help.
PHOTO BY ANDREW JAMESON - OWN WORK, CC BY-SA 3.0, HTTPS://COMMONS.WIKIMEDIA.ORG/W/INDEX.PHP?CURID=10400030