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After suicide bombing hits Nashville, authorities ask ‘why?’

Authorities continue to gather evidence after the Christmas day bombing that decimated a block of downtown Nashville and knocked communication infrastructure offline for much of the region. With a suspect identified, they now turn to determining motive. Stephanie Sy reports.

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  • Amna Nawaz:

    And now to the Christmas Day bombing that rocked Nashville, Tennessee.

    We now know the who. The why remains a mystery.

    Stephanie Sy has our report.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Investigators are still going through the wreckage, as they did all through Christmas weekend. Among their discoveries, DNA evidence that linked back to 63-year old Anthony Quinn Warner. They now say he died in the explosion, an apparent suicide, and the only fatality.

  • David Rausch:

    It does appear that the intent was more destruction than death. That's all still speculation at this point, as we continue in our investigation with all of our partners.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Authorities made clear Sunday that they do believe Warner acted alone.

    Over the weekend, federal agents searched Warner's house in a Nashville suburb. A Google maps image from 2019 showed an R.V. in the backyard. It looks similar to one in a photo police say was captured on a surveillance camera on Christmas in downtown Nashville.

    The R.V. parked, and a loudspeaker blared a warning to evacuate, along with a minute-by-minute countdown to the explosion. The moment of the blast was captured on video. Even in the empty early morning streets, chaos erupted. The bomb was so powerful, it damaged more than 40 buildings.

    Jeffrey Rasmussen and his family escaped, but felt the bomb's force.

  • Jeffrey Rasmussen:

    As we're driving away, this massive explosion. I mean, it's this huge — I mean, I was looking forward, driving, and I hear the sound, and the whole car shifts.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Damage done to the AT&T building, where the explosive-laden R.V. parked, disrupted phone and Internet services in Tennessee and beyond.

    As of this morning the company said that the majority of services have been restored in Nashville. But the question of motive remains unanswered.

  • Mayor John Cooper:

    To all of us locally, it feels like there has to be some connection with the AT&T facility and the site of the bombing. That's a bit of just local insight, and — that it's got to have something to do with the infrastructure.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    The bomber's late father had worked at AT&T, and authorities said his mother was cooperating with the investigation.

    And while the question of motive remains unanswered, a neighbor recounted the suspect saying less than a week ago that the world would not forget him. Warner was a computer consultant with a scant criminal record. A single marijuana possession charge dated back to 1978. He had not been on law enforcement's radar.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Stephanie Sy.

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