An RV packed with explosives rocked a mostly empty street in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, early on Christmas Day. The terror-style attack seems to be both intentional and meant to limit casualties, officials say.
The baffling situation did not readily provide a clear motive or target for the attack, but some suspect that police and first responders may have been the focus. The bomb went off at around 6:30 a.m. on Friday in what FBI and local officials confirmed it was an “intentional act,” Fox News reported.
MNPD, FBI & ATF investigating the 6:30 a.m. explosion on 2nd Ave N linked to a vehicle. This appears to have been an intentional act. Law enforcement is closing downtown streets as investigation continues. pic.twitter.com/YOfMTaKmTH
Update — 5:24 P.M. EST: Authorities have found human remains near the explosion site in downtown Nashville, sources tell the Associated Press. Read Breitbart News’ full report below:
BREAKING: AP sources: Authorities have found human remains in the vicinity of the explosion in downtown Nashville. Find updates here: https://t.co/WZv5vkagOh
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 25, 2020
According to authorities, gunfire was heard ahead of the bomb blast outside an AT&T building in Nashville’s downtown area between First and Second Avenues. The shots fired call came in about an hour before the blast.
Once police arrived on the scene, officers heard a loudspeaker blasting a message from a van warning, “If you can hear this, evacuate now.”
Surveillance video of the explosion seems to reveal the pre-recorded message warning people to evacuate the area:
BREAKING: Audio warning was being broadcast before explosion rocked downtown Nashville. Video shows moment of blast. pic.twitter.com/3IvciFH6BV
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) December 25, 2020
Police began going door-to-door to alert people to flee the area before the blast went off. At least two officers were injured by the bombing, one slightly and a second experiencing hearing loss.
The early timing of the explosion coupled with the pre-recorded warning shows that the event was planned to keep casualties to a minimum and result mostly in property damage, as opposed to death.
The Nashville police immediately brought bomb-sniffing dogs to the area to look for more bombs, but none were found.
NEW: Authorities are searching downtown Nashville with bomb dogs “as a precaution” following this morning’s explosion.
“We don’t feel there’s any concern in the downtown area of anything else right now.” https://t.co/6aOkFeKl7x pic.twitter.com/qOQOLnlolH
— ABC News (@ABC) December 25, 2020
“We’re putting everything we have into finding who was responsible for what’s happened here today,” FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Matt Foster said during a press conference. Nashville Police Chief Drake added that his investigators “don’t feel there’s any concern to the downtown area” anymore.
There have been no casualties reported by local hospitals.
NBC noted that President Trump is being kept informed about the investigation:
Damage surveyed after an explosion in downtown Nashville on Christmas morning.
3 taken to hospitals, none critical, fire officials say.
Mark Humphrey / AP pic.twitter.com/YmakRnksG2
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 25, 2020
Video makes the street at ground zero of the blast look like a war zone:
Footage from the scene on 2nd Ave North as multiple agencies continue to work and investigate an explosion from earlier this morning. pic.twitter.com/5g40RhwNNl
— Nashville Fire Dept (@NashvilleFD) December 25, 2020
Nashville Democrat Mayor John Cooper is already taking heat for joking about the incident. Cooper told the media that authorities were on the scene to “make sure this is the only explosion that’s gonna happen in Nashville today,” and then laughed that the gushing water mains lend a dramatic flair to the scene.
Apparently Nashville’s useless Democrat mayor John Cooper’s got jokes this morning! pic.twitter.com/btyiMr12Jz
— Jon Miller (@MillerStream) December 25, 2020
The Nashville Police also released a photo of the RV they think was used to transport the bomb to ground zero.
BREAKING: This is the RV that exploded on 2nd Ave N this morning. It arrived on 2nd Ave at 1:22 a.m. Have you seen this vehicle in our area or do you have information about it? Please contact us via Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463 or online via https://t.co/dVGS7o0m4v. @ATFHQ pic.twitter.com/JNx9sDinAH
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) December 25, 2020