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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Christmas Day explosion in downtown Nashville; ATF, FBI and MNPD investigating

The police say the explosion ‘appears to have been an intentional act.’ Downtown streets are being closed.
Nashville explosion occurs on Christmas Day in 2020. (Metro Nashville Police Department)

LAST UPDATED: 3:45 p.m. CST Dec. 28, 2020. 

Officials are currently investigating an explosion, originating from a vehicle, that occurred outside 166 2nd Ave N close to AT&T transmission building around 6:30 a.m. CST this morning, per Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD).

The police say the explosion ‘appears to have been an intentional act.’

There are currently no deaths being reported. Nashville Fire Department Public Information Officer Joseph Pleasant said three people were moved to the hospital with non-critical injuries, according to WKRN.

AT&T confirmed on Twitter at 12:44 p.m. CST that service for “some customers in Nashville [and] surrounding areas” may have been affected the explosion at the transmission building.

“We are in contact with law enforcement [and] working as quickly as possible to restore service,” AT&T said.

Police departments, including Murfreesboro, Mt. Juliet and La Vergne, are reporting outages to their 911 and non-emergency lines, per WKRN. These departments have sent up alternate lines.

Police responded to reports of shots fired on 2nd Ave N at 5:30 a.m., and an officer alerted the MNPD’s hazardous devices unit, which was on the way, when the explosion took place, per The Tennessean.

The vehicle was broadcasting a message which stated “If you can hear this message, evacuate now,” seconds before the explosion. It remains unclear if anyone was in the vehicle as it exploded, per MNPD spokesperson Don Aaron.

CBS Sportsline reporter Alan Ball tweeted a picture capturing the scale of the explosion.

As a result of the explosion, downtown Nashville has been shut down while officials from MNPD, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) investigate. The police and fire departments have set up radiation monitors as a precautionary measure, per News Channel 5 Chief Investigative Reporter Phil Williams.

Chancellor Daniel Diermeier and Vice Chancellor for Administration Eric Kopstain sent the Vanderbilt community an email at 12:46 p.m. CST. The email stated that the university received no reports of anyone from the Vanderbilt community being affected.

“The Vanderbilt University campus has not been impacted as a result of this incident, although we continue to monitor the situation closely and are checking on faculty, staff and students, including off-campus students,” the email said.

At approximately 4:36 p.m. CST, Mayor John Cooper announced on Twitter that he signed Executive Order 12 issuing a state of civil emergency for the area of Nashville bounded by James Robertson Parkway, 4th Avenue North, Broadway and the Cumberland River. A curfew for the area will be in effect from 4:30 p.m. CST today and will be lifted on Sunday, December 27 at 4:30 p.m. CST.

Two officials told the Associated Press that human remains were found in the vicinity of the explosion, though it is currently unclear how the remains were related to the explosion or whether they may belong to a responsible party. MNPD Chief of Police John Drake, during a 5 p.m. press conference, stated that tissue was found but that testing was needed to conclude its origins, human or otherwise. Drake also said that AT&T networks were back while local CBS outlets report that issues are still being reported throughout the region. Drake added that there was no warning for the attack and said that motive is still unknown at this time.

Affected businesses were instructed to reach out to the central police precinct to manage ways to safely return to affected buildings. Chief William Swann of the Nashville Fire Department also stated that a residential building near the explosion site collapsed and that the fire department will be looking at nearby buildings to make sure they are structurally sound and that their pipes are still functioning in the cold weather.

Cooper took a walking tour of the active investigation site before that same press conference and revealed that he was working with Governor Bill Lee to bring together “all possible resources” for rebuilding Second Avenue, including TEMA and FEMA assistance.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. CST, the Office of the Dean of Students sent an email stating that as a result of the outages, both the on-call line for the Student Health Center and the University Counseling Center are down.

“The Student Health Center will be open Monday, December 28 to Wednesday, December 30; it is uncertain when their phone lines will be restored,” the email reads. “The on-call line for the University Counseling Center is also currently down. Students who need to access urgent care counseling services should call 1-800-435-2197.”

CNN also reported that Anthony Quinn Warner was identified as the Nashville bomber. DNA from human tissue found at the scene matches Warner’s. It is not believed that any other individuals are involved at this time.

At approximately 3:45 p.m. CST on Dec. 28, Diermeier and Vice Chancellor Eric Kopstain sent out an email update which stated that no one from the Vanderbilt community was directly affected by the explosion, but also mentioned continued outages with university and Vanderbilt University Medical Center telecommunications.

“We have received several daily updates from AT&T on progress being made to restore all telecommunications services and expect full restoration of service soon,” the email reads. “Visit the MyVU website for the latest information on alternate contact information for critical campus services.”

This piece was updated with further information from MNPD spokesperson Don Aaron, the press conference held at noon, the email from Chancellor Diermeier and Vice Chancellor Kopstain and the reports of service outages for AT&T and various police departments.

This story will be updated as The Hustler receives more information.

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About the Contributor
Immanual John Milton
Immanual John Milton, Former Editor in Chief
Immanual John Milton ('22) is from Minneapolis, MN. He studies computer science, economics and business. Before being Editor in Chief, Immanual was a deputy news editor. He can be reached at [email protected].    
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3 years ago

The FBI and the CIA did it. The deep state did it. no need to investigate. this was done by the black hat bad CIA operatives to take down ATT servers in the building housing the voter data from Dominion. Seriously. ATT was hired by Dominion to do the vote audits. So Dominion colluded with the CIA and FBI to get them to take down the servers. OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE! COLLUSION!