Nashville RV bomber driven by paranoia, conspiracy theories: FBI

FBI says man who detonated bomb in recreational vehicle on Christmas Day, injuring three, had wanted to end his own life.

A vehicle burns near the site of the explosion in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, on December 25, 2020 [File: Andrew Nelles/ Today Network via Reuters]

The man who rigged a recreational vehicle (RV) to explode on Christmas Day in the United States city of Nashville had wanted to end his own life, the FBI said in a report on Monday detailing its investigation into the enormous explosion.

The agency said Anthony Quinn Warner, who died in the blast, acted alone in building and detonating the “vehicle-borne improvised explosive device” that tore through downtown Nashville on December 25.

The explosion, which injured three people, damaged dozens of buildings, and knocked telecommunications systems offline, took place after a recorded messaged playing from the RV warned that “a bomb would detonate in 15 minutes”.

“Warner’s detonation of the improvised explosive device was an intentional act in an effort to end his own life, driven in part by a totality of life stressors,” the FBI said the report.

It said those stressors included “paranoia, long-held individualized beliefs adopted from several eccentric conspiracy theories, and the loss of stabilizing anchors and deteriorating interpersonal relationships”.

The FBI did not provide additional information on what conspiracy theories Warner, 63, allegedly believed in.

The bombing took place outside an AT&T office tower in Nashville, prompting some speculation that Warner could have been motivated by a belief in conspiracy theories related to 5G technology.

But the FBI said in its report that it found no “indications of a specific personal grievance focused on individuals or entities in and around the location of the explosion”.

Warner also “specifically chose the location and timing of the bombing so that it would be impactful, while still minimizing the likelihood of causing undue injury”, it said.

The bomb exploded at around 6:30am local time (12:30 GMT) on Christmas Day.

The Associated Press reported in December of last year that police officers visited Warner’s home in 2019 after his girlfriend informed them that he was building bombs in an RV.

But the officers were unable to make contact with Warner or see inside the vehicle, the news agency said.

Source: Al Jazeera