Days later, authorities still aren’t sure what led a man to detonate a bomb in his RV parked in downtown Nashville early Christmas morning, killing himself, collapsing a building and blowing out windows and doors blocks away. But one thing is clear: Cops acted swiftly and heroically, saving numerous lives. It’s a reminder that the vast majority of law-enforcement officers don’t deserve the abuse to which they’ve been subjected this year.
Investigators say Anthony Quinn Warner, 63, acted alone in the attack that injured at least three people and damaged dozens of buildings. The explosion, which occurred in front of an AT&T transmission facility, cut off cell and Internet service in parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama, disrupting 911 service and grounding flights.
Warner had just one item on his record, an arrest for marijuana possession in 1978. Officials seem stymied on a motive for the bizarre attack.
“We may never find the exact reasoning behind the activity that took place,” cautioned David Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
No answers “will ever be enough for those who have been affected by this event,” said Douglas Korneski, the special agent in charge of the Memphis FBI field office.
Warner did provide a warning, though: The RV blared a recording informing those nearby that a bomb was about to explode before playing Petula Clark’s optimistic 1964 hit “Downtown.”
Officers on the scene took that warning seriously. They put themselves in danger to protect the public because, well . . . that’s their job. And they care. Never mind the verbal — and physical — attacks on them by the cop-haters. The spitting at them, and car-ramming, and Molotov cocktails. They are dedicated professionals who do their jobs, selflessly.
Cops on the scene called for backup; six blocked off traffic and went door-to-door, evacuating residents. Officer Brenna Hosey recalled having “scared the bejesus” out of one woman who answered her door. “I told her that there was a threat in the area and we needed her to evacuate. She said, ‘OK, let me get my kids.’” Hosey doesn’t have kids, “but I have cousins and nieces and people that I love that are small. So I’m thinking maybe one or two kids,” she said. “She ended up having four kids.”
Officer James Wells lost hearing temporarily due to the blast, but he never lost his wits. “I actually told everybody when we came out to make sure we look at the high ground and parking garages, just in case,” he said, fearing an ambush.
“This is going to tie us together forever, for the rest of my life,” Wells said, choking up at a news conference. “Christmas will never be the same.”
Thanks to Officers Hosey, Wells, James Luellen, Michael Sipos and Amanda Topping — none of whom has been with the department longer than four years — and Sgt. Timothy Miller, this Christmas was a lot less deadlier than it might have been.
Very few cops take lives needlessly. So many more, as happened here, save lives. They deserve our gratitude.
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