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Report: FBI, police knew Nashville bomber was making explosives last year

Anthony Quinn Warner, linked to the explosion in downtown Nashville on Dec. 25, 2020. (FBI/Released)
December 30, 2020

Law enforcement officials knew that Nashville bomber Anthony Quinn Warner was making bombs in his RV more than one year before the attack, according to The Tennessean.

Last week, Warner detonated a car bomb in downtown Nashille, causing significant destruction to 41 buildings on Second Avenue and crippling telecommunication systems in the Southern city. According to police, three individuals were injured, and Warner died in the blast.

In the days after the explosion, The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said the 63-year-old was “not on our radar” before the bombing occurred. However, a report from the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) in August 2019 showed that both local and federal authorities knew of apparent threats Warner had made.

The MNPD report stated Warner’s girlfriend told police that he “was building bombs in the RV trailer at his residence” on Aug. 21, 2019. Local law enforcement forwarded the information to the FBI.

Despite the warnings, The Tennessean reported that law enforcement did not take any action to stop Warner.

Raymond Throckmorton III, the girlfriend’s attorney, told law enforcement that Warner “frequently talks about the military and bomb making,” the document stated.

Warner “knows what he is doing and is capable of making a bomb,” Throckmorton continued.  

Following the Christmas Day attack, Throckmorton told The Tennessean that he had insisted law enforcement investigate the woman’s claim, fearing for her safety.

Warner’s girlfriend was struggling with a mental health emergency at the time and was transported by ambulance to be psychologically evaluated.

Police did go to Warner’s home, but were unable to make contact with him. The officers saw the RV, but it was fenced off and they were unable to look inside.

“They saw no evidence of a crime and had no authority to enter his home or fenced property,” MNPD spokesman Don Aaron told The Tennessean.

After reviewing the MNPD’s report, the FBI told Aaron that the agency “checked their holdings and found no records on Warner at all.”

According to Darrell DeBusk, an FBI spokesperson, the review was a standard record check. The Defense Department later reported that “checks on Warner were all negative.”

Aaron told the outlet that Throckmorton had prevented police from interviewing Warner or entering his property, a claim the attorney denies.

“I have no memory of that whatsoever,” Throckmorton said of MNPD’s claim. “I didn’t represent him anymore. He wasn’t an active client. I’m not a criminal defense attorney.”

Throckmorton said he believed police could have taken steps to prevent the bombing.  

“Somebody, somewhere dropped the ball,” Throckmorton said.