Newly-released 911 calls have revealed the panic and confusion among terrified residents during the massive explosion that tore through downtown Nashville on
Nashville dispatchers began fielding calls just before 6am last Friday after multiple panicked residents called in to report what they initially believed were gunshots near Second Avenue North.
It was later revealed to be a bomb detonated by Anthony Quinn Warner, 63, who blew himself up in an RV shortly before dawn, causing massive destruction to 41 downtown buildings.
The RV blared out a warning before it exploded, and police were rapidly clearing the area when it detonated, killing Warner but no one else.
In a chilling audio recording released by the Nashville Emergency Communications Center Wednesday, one woman is heard frantically pleading for help after telling dispatchers her building was collapsing.
‘My entire building just fell down and it’s collapsing. I live at [address] please come. Please come,’ says the woman, identified as Mallory, while explaining that she does not know what is happening.
Nashville Emergency Communications Center on Wednesday released a series of 911 calls from the Christmas Day bombing
Debris remains on the sidewalk in front of buildings damaged in a Christmas Day explosion Tuesday
As the dispatcher attempts to take down her information, the woman is heard panting, scrambling for her shoes and her dog as she rushes to evacuate.
‘The roof is collapsing in, oh my god. Oh my god. I don’t know what’s going on,’ she says in the call. ‘We have to get out. We can’t be up here. Oh my God, I think it’s an explosion.’
In another harrowing clip, a man named Brian tells police that he believes there is a gunman in a four-story building after hearing shots fired.
Christmas bomber Anthony Quinn Warner claimed to have cancer before the attack
‘There have been three rounds of gunshots inside the building,’ he says.
‘First, about seven or eight minutes ago, and then about five minutes ago. ‘
When asked if he wanted to speak to officers after they arrive at the scene, he replies: ‘No, I’m too scared to leave the apartment.’
Elsewhere around the same time, another woman dialed 911 after hearing the recording from the bomber’s RV blaring a recorded warning that a bomb would detonate in 15 minutes.
‘We’ve got a recording out here saying there is a limited time to evacuate this area on Second Avenue North, downtown Nashville. Is that you guys?’ she asks.
‘There is a recording out there saying there is a limited amount of time to evacuate this area, “there is a large bomb inside this vehicle.”Can you please send the police up here?
‘Meanwhile I’m getting dressed, can you please send a police up here? I’m sorry, I’m in a panic.’
The explosion took place before downtown streets were bustling with activity and was accompanied by a recorded announcement from the RV (pictured) warning anyone nearby that a bomb would soon detonate
Harrowing images taken on Monday show the aftermath of the Christmas Day explosion in downtown Nashville as investigators search for ‘any and all possible motives’ for the bombing
Authorities from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were seen processing the area where the explosion occurred
The woman explained the recording had been playing ‘over and over’ outside and she couldn’t determine whether it was coming from a police vehicle.
The dispatcher, who at the time was apparently not aware of the bomber driving the RV, tells the woman they had only received reports of gunshots so far.
The release of the 911 calls come after officials revealed Warner had reportedly told his neighbor that ‘the world is never going to forget me’ days before the massive explosion that injured at least eight people.
Police were responding to a report of shots fired Friday when they encountered the RV blaring a recorded warning that a bomb would detonate in 15 minutes.
Suddenly the warning stopped, and Petula Clark’s hit, ‘Downtown,’ started playing.
The RV exploded shortly afterward, sending black smoke and flames billowing from the heart of downtown Nashville’s tourist scene, an area packed with honky-tonks, restaurants and shops.
Emergency personnel work near the scene of an explosion in downtown Nashville
Nashville Police Chief John Drake, left, joins a group of police officers as they embrace after speaking at a news conference Sunday. The officers are part of a group of officers credited with evacuating people before an explosion took place in downtown Nashville early Christmas morning
Buildings shook and windows shattered streets away from the explosion near a building owned by AT&T that lies one block from the company’s office tower, a landmark in downtown.
Authorities said Warner, 63, was not known to law enforcement before the Christmas blast.
Investigators have not uncovered a singular motive for the act nor was it revealed why Warner had selected the particular location for the bombing.
Warner left behind clues that suggest he planned the bombing and intended to kill himself, but a clear motive remained elusive.
‘We hope to get an answer. Sometimes, it’s just not possible,’ David Rausch, the director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said Monday in an interview on NBC’s Today show. ‘The best way to find motive is to talk to the individual. We will not be able to do that in this case.’
Authorities said Warner is believed to have acted alone and used his credit card to purchase chemical precursors and security alarms.
Warner, who public records show had experience with electronics and alarms and who had also worked as a computer consultant for a Nashville realtor, had been regarded as a person of interest in the bombing since at least Saturday when federal and local investigators converged on a home in suburban Nashville linked to him.
Federal agents could be seen looking around the property, searching the home and the backyard.
A Google Maps image captured in May 2019 had shown a recreational vehicle similar to the one that exploded parked in the backyard, but it was not at the property on Saturday, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene.
Officials said their identification of Warner relied on several key pieces of evidence, including DNA found at the explosion site. Investigators had previously revealed that human remains had been found in the vicinity.
In addition, investigators from the Tennessee Highway Patrol recovered parts from the RV among the wreckage from the blast, and were able to link the vehicle identification number to an RV that was registered to Warner, officials said.