Quarter of a million dollar reward offered over mysterious Christmas Day Nashville bombing
A vehicle burns near an explosion site in downtown Nashville, Tennessee - Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK via REUTERS / Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK via REUTERS
A reward of more than a quarter of a million dollars has been offered to anyone who helps find the person behind the mysterious Christmas Day bombing in Nashville, Tennessee.
Local business people and celebrities made the offer after three people were injured and at least 41 buildings were damaged when a mobile home exploded downtown at around 6:40 a.m. on Friday.
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Marcus Lemonis, a businessman and television host, offered $ 250,000 "for anyone who provides information leading to arrest and conviction," adding, "We can't terrorize our streets like this."
Others who then got into the cash pot included a local tourism authority, Fox Sports host Clay Travis, and a store near the blast. The motive for the attack remains unclear.
Federal agents investigating the blast ransacked a suburban home in Nashville on Saturday. Officials also tried to identify obvious human remains that were found near the exploded vehicle.
According to CNN, investigators believe the explosion may have been the result of a suicide attack.
The RV sent a recorded message urging it to evacuate the area and saying it would explode in 15 minutes.
The explosion also appeared to be planned for the early morning when few people will have been around. Both were seen as possible signs that the perpetrator wanted to limit the number of victims.
However, the bomb was also placed in a large city center, causing an explosion large enough to damage buildings and spray debris for blocks, a potentially fatal act.
US law enforcement officials said in a press conference on Saturday that they were investigating 500 different pointers and tips about the bombings.
No indication was given as to whether any one or more people were behind the explosion, although officials stressed that there was no ongoing danger.
Don Cochran, US attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, compared the bomber to the "ultimate Scrooge," which brought destruction instead of joy on Christmas Day.
Smoke rises from the location of an explosion in the Second and Commerce area in Nashville - Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK via REUTERS / Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com / USA Tennessean NETWORK via REUTERS
Bomb experts searched the scene for evidence on Saturday and worked from the perimeter of the blast zone while behavior experts tried to locate a subject.
Bill Ryan, a former New York Police Department detective, speculated on Fox News that the recorded message may have been a way to attract law enforcement officials from the explosion.
At a news conference Friday night, police chiefs said they were examining what appeared to be human tissue found at the site to see if it was the remains of a body.
CBS News reported Saturday that police had identified "a person of interest or persons of interest" in connection with the bombing, although details remained unspecific.
The RV had been parked next to an AT&T headquarters and phone lines, including the Nashville Covid-19 community hotline, were cut by the explosion.
Six police officers who were trying to evacuate buildings when the pre-recorded warning of the explosion was played were hailed as heroes who had saved countless lives.
John Drake, chief of the Nashville Police Department, said Friday, "These officers didn't take care of themselves, they didn't think about it. They took care of the people of Nashville."
He added, "The officers saved lives today and their heroism should be noted."
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