Here is What We Know so Far About Nashville Bombing

At 1:22 a.m. Christmas morning, a nondescript white RV parked along 2nd Avenue, next to a crucial ATT switch building in Nashville, Tennessee. Nobody paid any attention. Hours later, it exploded. The blast knocked out communications in three states including emergency 911 service. Authorities are very carefully not saying who did it, or why, but this quacks suspiciously like a terror attack duck. The big question is whether it’s a foreign or domestic duck. The latest bulletins suggest one or more people may be under interrogation now.

Nashville Christmas rocked by explosion

It’s not clear yet if the sound of gunfire which signaled the start of the Nashville attack was real or part of the recording broadcast by the booby trapped RV. The mysterious incident began Friday with a “report of shots fired.”

Officers “responded to 2nd Avenue North in downtown” around 5:30 a.m., and were “on the scene investigating” when they reportedly “heard a recording coming from a parked RV around 6:00 warning people in the area to evacuate.” The repeated recording said they had “15 minutes” but the RV didn’t explode until 6:30.

The vehicle was parked at the curb adjacent to the AT&T switch building. Surveillance video released on Twitter from across the street caught the audio warning coming from the camper, “If you can hear this message, evacuate now.” When it went off, the blast “sent black smoke and flames billowing from the heart of downtown Nashville.” As reported, “Buildings shook and windows shattered streets away from the explosion.” The switch facility is separate from the company’s iconic “Batman Building” office tower which sits a block away.

Local resident Buck McCoy posted video which shows “water pouring down the ceiling of his home. Alarms blare in the background along with cries of people in distress. A fire is visible in the street outside.” He relates that he heard “gunfire 15 minutes before the explosion,” adding, “all my windows, every single one of them got blown into the next room. If I had been standing there it would have been horrible.”

Three people were injured and taken to the hospital. All are listed in “stable” condition. First responders are reporting “possible” human remains which could turn out to be what’s left of a suicide bomber. Then again, it could belong to the helpless owner of a hijacked RV tied up and left behind to muddy the trail.

Police hailed as heroes

Six Nashville police officers are being called “heroes” for helping to evacuate the area. Chief John Drake with the Metro Police declares, “what we witnessed yesterday morning was nothing short of heroism and courageous actions by those six officers.” All in the line of duty their FOP president notes.

They “charged towards the danger like any other police officer in our nation would,” James Smallwood adds. “When they got there, obviously the danger continued to increase and they took swift action, and they started working in the streets and in the neighborhood to clear residents from the area and clear pedestrians from the area.” Without a doubt, “They put themselves in between good and evil, and they saved lives.”

There will be economic disruption to the city of Nashville because along with vital communication equipment, the area hosts the city’s tourist scene
“packed with honky-tonks, restaurants and shops.” All of them are shut down during the federal investigation. Also most are dealing with broken glass and damaged buildings.

Nashville authorities are certain that this was a deliberate act, but aren’t hinting at who did it or why. Referring to the ATT switch building and the communications outages the explosion caused, Police aren’t saying if the building was a target or not. “We do not know if that was a coincidence, or if that was the intention,” police spokesman Don Aaron asserts. Earlier he admitted that “some people were taken to the department’s central precinct for questioning” but refused to say another word.

At least 41 buildings damaged

While it appears that the ATT switch facility was the prime target, another 40 nearby buildings were collateral damage. The phone company issued a statement explaining that “the affected building is the central office of a telephone exchange, with network equipment in it.”

They admit service was interrupted but won’t say how badly. The public AT&T outages site “showed service issues in middle Tennessee and Kentucky.” Also, several police agencies reported “that their 911 systems were down because of the outage, including Knox County, home to Knoxville about 180 miles east of Nashville.”

AT&T advises that the company is “bringing in portable cell sites” and “working with law enforcement to get access to make repairs to its equipment” in Nashville. They pointed out the obvious, stating “power is essential to restoring” service.

They’re “trying to restore power to AT&T equipment but a fire reignited overnight and led to an evacuation of the building.” Meanwhile, across the region, the destroyed equipment continues to cause disruptions for phone and internet services.

AT&T and T-Mobile cell phone service failed, along with 911 call centers across the state. Kentucky and northern Alabama were also affected. Retailers, including Walmart, are feeling the pain. “Many Walmart stores are only able to accept cash and are not processing returns.” Part of the problem is that “stores are experiencing temporary internet outages.”

AT&T promises that its teams “continue to work around the clock.” They deployed two portable cell sites in downtown Nashville with “numerous” additional portable sites being deployed through the region. “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. Technical teams are also working as quickly as possible on rerouting additional services to other facilities in the region to restore service.”

Nashville Airspace closed

Right after the explosion, the Nashville airport was closed, throwing a kink into holiday travel. The FAA grounded all flights “because of telecommunications issues associated with the explosion.” The airport eventually reopened with delays. The FAA then went a mysterious step further.

Without saying why, the FAA has classified the airspace around the bombing site as off limits for a full week, “effective Friday through 4:45 p.m. on Dec. 30.” The alert issued by the FAA also “warned pilots of the temporary flight restrictions for one nautical mile, which is approximately 1.15 miles, around the site of the explosion along Second Avenue North near Commerce Street.” Flying over downtown Nashville isn’t a good idea. “deadly force” could be used.

On the ground, the mayor declared a curfew in the downtown area until Sunday, “meaning no traffic is allowed within the downtown area in close proximity to where the explosion occurred.” The FBI is leading the investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is also involved.

Six figure reward

A six figure reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest. The current figure is $300,000 for anyone who wants to turn in the terrorists. Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. started it with an offer of $10,000 then bumped it to $25,000. FOX Sports host Clay Travis also pledged $10,000. Camping World CEO and CNBC personality Marcus Lemonis pledged $250,000, noting “We can’t have our streets terrorized like this.”

Lewis Country Store which also represents “Music City Proud Boys” also pledged $20,000, declaring, “It is a shame that this happened on Christmas day or ANY DAY as a matter of fact!”

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