Nashville blast: investigators examine whether bomber had 5G paranoia

Photo: Terry Wyatt / Getty Images
According to reports, investigators are investigating whether a suicide bomber, fearing 5G technology, could be behind a Christmas morning explosion in historic downtown Nashville that injured three people.
The explosion, which severely damaged dozens of buildings in Tennessee's largest city, took place outside a facility owned by telecommunications company AT&T and has turned off or affected cell phone services in several other cities.
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Federal agents spent the weekend investigating a 63-year-old man who owned a motor home similar to what detectives believe was turned into a mobile bomb and driven to the scene.
Meanwhile, a Nashville television news station reported that an interested person named Anthony Warner, from a southeast suburb of the city, was working as an information technology consultant for a real estate company.
Steve Fridrich, a broker who contacted the FBI after hearing the man's name on a news magazine, told WSMV TV that federal agents asked him if Warner had any paranoia about 5G technology.
According to WSMV, sources close to the law enforcement investigation have indicated that among the various tips and lines of investigation was one that suggested Warner had subscribed to a conspiracy theory that 5G technology was used to spy on Americans.
The FBI did not name a suspect, but rather searched Warner's home in Nashville, a suburb of Antioch, after technicians from the bomb squad cleared the property. Earlier, a spokesman said human remains had been recovered from the site of the explosion and that the agency was not actively looking for further suspects.
DNA results on human tissue were expected shortly.
Douglas Korneski, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Memphis branch, said hundreds of agents had gone through at least 500 tips and clues and that it was too early to focus on any particular theory.
"It will only take some time," he said at a press conference on Saturday night. "We examine every possible motive [and] our investigation team turns every stone over."
When asked whether the AT&T building could have been a possible target, Korneski said: "We are looking into every possible motive that could be involved."
On Sunday, the Nashville Mayor appeared to be indicating that the 5G conspiracy theory may be relevant to the investigation. "For all of us on the ground, there seems to be a connection to the AT&T facility and the location of the bombing," said John Cooper on CBS's Face the Nation.
"That's just a local insight, because it must have something to do with the infrastructure."
Cooper worked closely with the federal law enforcement and local authorities who conducted the investigation, as well as Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Lee, who asked Donald Trump for a federal disaster statement.
The president played golf in Florida on Sunday and the White House hadn't responded to Lee's request.
The explosion occurred early Christmas morning when police officers, who were on the scene after reports of gunfire, attempted to evacuate local residents. An eerie recording from the mobile home with a woman's voice, interspersed with pieces of music, warned of an impending explosion.
Two officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries when the explosion sparked black smoke and flames from the heart of the central tourist area of ​​downtown Nashville.
Civil and emergency communications networks in Nashville and several other cities, including Louisville, Knoxville, Birmingham and Atlanta, were affected.
AT&T announced Sunday that the service had been diverted to other facilities as the company worked to restore its badly damaged building. The company announced in a statement that it is providing resources to restore affected voice and data services and expects to have 24 additional trailers of disaster recovery equipment available on site by the end of the day.
Ray Neville, President of Technology at T-Mobile, another wireless operator, said on Twitter, “We continue to see service disruptions. The restoration work will continue around the clock and we will keep you updated on the progress. "
The outages briefly resulted in flights at Nashville International Airport, although service was mostly back to normal on Saturday night. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued flight restrictions around the airport until December 30th.
Cooper signed a civil emergency declaration for areas in Nashville affected by the blast, including a curfew.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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