Nashville man Anthony Quinn Warner is the person of interest investigators have linked with the Christmas day explosion in downtown Nashville, police chief John Drake confirmed Sunday.
Warner, 63, is a longtime Nashvillian who held several IT jobs throughout his life. Federal authorities are scouring the city for evidence on Warner.
Public records show he had extensive experience with electronics and alarm systems. He recently worked as an independent computer technician with the real estate firm Fridrich & Clark.
Federal agents searched his Antioch home and the Fridrich & Clark real estate office in Nashville Saturday. Google Street View images of Warner’s home show a white RV parked behind a wooden fence on the property.
A similar RV was at the center of the Friday morning blast on Second Avenue in downtown Nashville. His neighbors reported seeing the RV at the home for years.
Police said the explosion came from the RV soon after a speaker system broadcast an urgent warning to evacuate the area. Authorities have not identified whose human tissue was found Friday at the blast site, Darrell DeBusk, a public affairs office for the FBI, said Sunday afternoon. He could not provide a time estimate on when the results would be available.
“It depends on the lab and the evidence,” DeBusk told The Tennessean. “This case is receiving priority.”
Police in the area moments before the blast said the speakers also played the wistful 1964 song “Downtown” by Petula Clark. The lyric, about going to the city to seek refuge from sadness, echoed down Second Avenue just before the blast: “The lights are much brighter there.”
Neighbor: Warner never talked politics; kept to himself and cared for his animals
Steve Schmoldt and his wife have lived next to Warner for more than two decades. When Schmoldt’s wife moved into the house in 1995, Warner was already living next door.
Schmoldt described his longtime neighbor as friendly, someone with whom he would make brief small talk before parting ways.
He described Warner as “kind of low key to the point of, I don’t know, I guess some people would say he’s a little odd.”
“You never saw anyone come and go,” Schmoldt said of Warner’s home. “Never saw him go anywhere. As far as we knew, he was kind of a computer geek that worked at home.”
Warner had placed lights and security cameras outside his house.
Warner would do a lot of work in his yard, a tall antenna is placed prominently on the side of the house, Schmoldt said. Warner built the fence around his yard himself, the neighbor recalled.
The neighbors never talked about politics or religion. Warner never gave any indication of any closely held ideology.
“I can tell you as far as politics, he never had any yard signs or flags in his window or anything like that. If he did have any political beliefs he kept, that was something he kept to himself.
Schmoldt said while the RV had been parked outside the home for years, a couple weeks ago, Warner built a gate in the fence and drove the RV into his yard.
“To be honest, we didn’t really pay any attention it was gone until the FBI and ATF showed up,” Schmoldt said.
He and his wife watched the news Christmas morning as information began to unfold about the Second Avenue bombing. They saw the photos police released of the RV in question. That night, they noticed some cars driving up and down their street.
It didn’t begin to click that their neighbor may have been connected until Saturday, when they looked outside to see a large group of law enforcement outside Warner’s home.
“Holy cow, there’s a SWAT team out there,” Schmoldt recalled his wife saying as she looked out the front door mid-morning Saturday.
When Schmoldt learned that whoever was in the RV appeared to have tried to avoid casualties, his mind went to Warner’s devotion to his animals for so many years.
Warner had dogs over the years, first two small Shelties and then a larger dog that he adopted, though the pets have since died. Schmoldt said Warner “took really good care of his dogs,” even building a wheelchair ramp for them when they got older so the animals didn’t have to use stairs to get inside the house.
“If it was him, he didn’t want anybody hurt,” Schmoldt said. “But if that’s the case, what other message is there? If indeed it was him, I just, I don’t know. They have to figure out some kind of motive.”
Warner owned electronics and alarm company
State business records show Anthony Warner registered the company Custom Alarms & Electronics, which specialized in producing burglar alarms. The company had an alarm license from November 1993 through November 1998.
Court records show Warner was enmeshed in a family dispute when he transferred ownership of a second family home on Bakertown Road to himself about one month before his brother died in 2018.
His mother filed a petition in February 2019 asking a judge to overturn the real estate transfer, arguing that Warner, who was his brother’s power of attorney, acted in self-interest with the property transfer since it resulted in personal financial gain.
The case was dismissed in October 2019 at the mother’s request after the property was deeded back to her. The mother’s attorney in the matter, Yancy Belcher, said the family had asked him not to speak to the media.
Last month, court records show a quitclaim deed transfer of Warner’s Bakertown Road residence from Warner to an individual with a Los Angeles address on Nov. 25 for $0.
The Warner family has been in Nashville for decades — at least since 1961, according to newspaper archives. Anthony Warner, who went by the name Tony, was pictured in the Antioch High School during his sophomore and junior years in 1973 and 1974.
Cassandra Stephenson contributed.
Reach Adam Tamburin at 615-726-5986 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @tamburintweets.