The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) declared Nashville as National Defense Airspace on Friday following an early Christmas morning bombing near the AT&T building in downtown Nashville.
At approximately 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 24, police responded to a shots fired call on 3rd Avenue North and Commerce Street, which is located about a block away from the famous AT&T building. The building is the tallest in Nashville and is associated with pop culture references such as Batman and the Eye of Sauron due to the unique appearance of its apex.
When police responded, they found no evidence of gunfire, but did find a suspicious RV that was emitting a warning to evacuate the area because a bomb was about to detonate.
Some witnesses who gave accounts to various media outlets confirmed hearing gunfire in the area before the blast.
A Youtube video posted by an account registered in 2014 with no other uploads featured security footage near the scene showing an automated female voice saying “All buildings in this area must be evacuated now. If you can hear this message, evacuate now.”
The FAA’s “Notice to Airmen (NOTAM)” warned penalties for an airspace violation were not limited to only arrest and administrative action: “The United States Government may use deadly force against the airborne aircraft, if it is determined that the aircraft poses an imminent security threat.”
The NOTAM is in effect until Dec. 30.
The Associated Press reported on Saturday that AT&T said the building affected was a “central office of a telephone exchange, with network equipment in it,” while the telecom giant’s outages page showed that middle Tennessee and Kentucky both had service issues.
Several 911 operators in the area experienced outages as far as Knoxville, 180 miles East.
AT&T says work to restore services is underway, but “challenges remain, including a fire which reignited overnight and led to the evacuation of the building. Currently, our teams are on site working with safety and structural engineers. They have drilled access holes into the building and are attempting to reconnect power to critical equipment.”
The FAA also halted flights out of Nashville International Airport on Friday after the blast. Commercial flights resumed later Friday out of Metropolitan Nashville Airport.
On Friday, police said they had found what could be human remains at the site of the explosion.
Jeff Pegues, CBS’s Chief Justice and Homeland Security Correspondent posted Saturday on Twitter that their outlet had identified a suspect in the bombings in an independent investigation, “Multiple sources tell us that Anthony Quinn Warner, a Nashville area resident, had a similar make and model RV.”
Andy Ngo, Editor-at-Large for The Post Millennial, posted on Twitter that a Google Maps search of Warner’s address displays a similar looking RV. Ngo also posted a video clip of Warner’s property being searched by what appears to be a SWAT team.
The FBI’s Douglas Korneski, the special agent in charge of the Memphis Field Office told reporters that they were looking at a “number of individuals” in connection to the bombing, “We can’t confirm any individuals or anybody we’ve identified…There are a number of individuals that we’re looking at.”
“So, at this point, we’re not prepared to identify any single individual.”
Update: Authorities have confirmed from DNA evidence that Anthony Quinn Warner was indeed the perpetrator of what appears to have been a suicide bombing.