The mayor of Nashville said Friday that they are determined to find the person responsible for the massive Christmas morning explosion, which the authorities called premeditated. The explosion was caused by a warning from a van before the bomb exploded.
Nashville Police Chief John Drake said that authorities have found tissue that they believe can be linked to human remains near the blast site. They have not indicated whether the corpse belonged to a person associated with the attack or to an innocent victim.
At least three people were injured. WTVF, a subsidiary of CBS, reported that the explosion was felt in much of Davidson County around 6:30.
This morning’s attack on our community was intended to create chaos and fear in this time of peace and hope, said Mayor John Cooper.
Nashville officials report that Christmas…
Drake said the officers reacted to a gunshot in the city, and once they were in the neighborhood, they heard the van send a message that it would explode at some point.
Drake stated that they are investigating whether there is a connection to Christmas or Lyft headquarters or the nearby AT&T data center.
At a briefing on Friday, the police spokesman said the explosion was important.
We think the explosion was deliberate, Aaron added.
Fault! The file name is not specified.
A police officer is walking past the blast damage in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, 25. December 2020.
Mark Humphrey / AP
Three people were taken to the hospital for treatment, but officials said the injuries were not considered critical. The police said a cop was taken down by the explosion.
Nashville Police Superintendent John Drake said officials received a call regarding shots fired in the Second Avenue area near Commerce Street at approximately 5:30 a.m.
When the cops reacted, they came across a van with a note saying that a possible bomb would explode within 15 minutes. When the officials heard this, they decided to evacuate the surrounding buildings, so they started knocking on doors and making announcements…. to get the people to safety.
Shortly after, the van exploded, Drake said.
On Friday afternoon the police twittered a picture of the van taken by a security camera before the explosion and asked everyone with information about it to contact the authorities.
BREAK: That’s the van that exploded on 2nd Avenue N this morning. He arrived at Second Avenue at 1:22. Have you seen this vehicle near us or do you have information about it? Contact us via Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463 or online at https://t.co/dVGS7o0m4v. @ATFHQ pic.twitter.com/JNx9sDinAH
– Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) 25 December 2020
We know of no other direct threat to the region, Aaron said.
The FBI and ATF are now taking the lead in the investigation, FBI Deputy Special Agent Matt Foster said at the afternoon briefing: We’re doing everything we can to find those responsible for what happened here today. It contains lines of research. There is also technical work to be done.
He encouraged anyone with information to contact www.fbi.gov/nashville or call 1-800-CALL-FBI for advice.
Please tell us what you know. We need your advice, we need your help, he said.
Investigator’s report on the fire in Nashville….
The explosion damaged nearby buildings and shattered neighborhood windows, while a plume of black smoke rose on Second Avenue.
The explosion occurred near the AT&T building at 166 Second Avenue, but police said the investigators do not yet know if the location was deliberate.
WTVF said the explosion caused AT&T blackouts throughout the area and affected local law enforcement 911 lines: Service to some customers in and around Nashville may be affected by the damage to our facilities caused by the explosion this morning. We are in contact with law enforcement and are working to restore operations as quickly and safely as possible.
The FAA has also temporarily suspended flights from Nashville due to communication problems.
Large orange light ball
An eyewitness, Noelle Rasmussen, told CBSN that her family woke up early on Christmas morning when the police knocked on their door and told them they had to evacuate immediately because of a security threat in the area. When they left, she turned around to see a huge crack on the outside of the explosion.
She said there was a big orange fireball in the sky, about twice as high as our building. It looks like the whole front of our building is going to be demolished.
Her voice became emotional as she moved on: I’m so glad we’re gone. I’m so glad we’re having children. And first of all, I’m happy for the cops who went into a building they knew was a dangerous place and, you know, woke us up and got us out. I’m very grateful to you.
An eyewitness to the Nashville bombing described explosions…
Nashville Mayor John Cooper said he was visiting the extermination zone and we were lucky there were no further casualties.
It’s not a densely populated area, but the residents of the surrounding buildings are usually fine and have been evacuated, Cooper said.
Chief Justice and CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues reports federal funds being sent to the scene. Sources tell him that ATF arson investigators and certified explosives investigators have been certified on-site, and that ATF personnel are also working off-scene to plan the incident.
A Justice Department spokesman said acting attorney general Jeff Rosen directed all resources of the Justice Department to assist in the investigation.
The explosion in Nashville is linked to a suspicious vehicle….
A White House spokesman said President Trump had been notified of the explosion and would continue to receive regular updates. The President is grateful to the incredible first answering machines and prays for the wounded, said Deputy Press Secretary Judd Best in a statement.
President-elect Biden was also informed of the situation, according to his office.
Immediately after the explosion, the firefighters called on everyone in the area to stay at least two blocks away because they were afraid of further explosions.
Metropolitan police and road patrol have cordoned off the downtown area while we assess the overall situation, a police spokesperson said.
Photo over the river by @NC5 @KevWisniewski pic.twitter.com/AdrUZ1GXHh
– Phil Williams (@NC5PhilWilliams) 25 December 2020
Now it is a matter of public safety to ensure that everyone is present and that the fire does not spread, Michael Knight, a spokesman for ATF Nashville, told the Associated Press.
Buck McCoy, who lives nearby, said the windows in his house were blown out completely.
All my windows, every one of them, were blown into the next room. If I had been there, it would have been terrible, he said to the Associated Press.
It was like a bomb. He was so big.
Roman Feather, the digital producer for CBS News, said he heard and felt the explosion at his home in East Nashville, two and a half miles away.
He woke us up at 6:30 in the morning and sent the dogs into a frenzy, he said.
Fault! The file name is not specified.
Emergency personnel are working at the site of an explosion in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, 25. December 2020.
Mark Humphrey / AP
The Associated Press has contributed to this report.