The Latest: Driver charged after truck stopped in Tennessee

The Associated Press
·7-min read

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Latest on the Christmas Day bombing in downtown Nashville:

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9 p.m.

A sheriff's office in Tennessee says the driver of a box truck that was heard playing audio at a convenience store outside of Nashville has been booked into jail on felony charges.

The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office says members of a church and customers at the nearby market where the white box truck was spotted Sunday morning heard the driver playing audio “similar to what was heard” before a recreational vehicle exploded in downtown Nashville on Christmas Day.

Sgt. Steve Craig says deputies were called to investigate reports of the truck driver playing audio “loudly” outside the market, and later learned that the man was also accused of similar actions outside a church during a service.

The sheriff's office said in a statement that 33-year-old driver James Turgeon has been detained and charged with two counts of felony filing a false report and one count of tampering with evidence. Officials say Turgeon received the evidence tampering charge because he “damaged the speaker system wiring intentionally."

The Tennessee Highway Patrol has said a robot was sent to investigate the truck and no device was found.

Turgeon is being held on $500,000 bond, authorities said.

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7:15 p.m.

A sheriff's office in Tennessee says federal and state authorities did not discover a device after checking a “suspicious” box truck parked at a convenience store outside of Nashville.

The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office said in a social media post Sunday night that dispatchers received a call about the white box truck parked at a market in Rutherford County at around 10:30 a.m. Officials say it was playing audio “similar to what was heard” before a recreational vehicle exploded in downtown Nashville on Christmas Day.

Law enforcement officials shut down a section of highway in neighboring Wilson County as authorities sent out a robot to investigate.

“No device was detected,” Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Bill Miller said.

Officials say the driver left the parking lot and was pulled over and detained by authorities.

Rutherford County Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh says the investigation is ongoing.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says specialists worked with the state highway patrol at the scene. The FBI and other local agencies also assisted.

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6 p.m.

AT&T says it's making progress in its round-the-clock efforts to restore service cut off by the Christmas Day bombing in Nashville.

The company suffered widespread outages in Tennessee and other states after a bomb in a recreational vehicle exploded near one of its facilities in downtown Nashville.

CEO Jeff McElfresh said in a statement that 96% of its wireless service has been restored, along with 60% of AT&T’s business services and 86% of the company’s consumer broadband and entertainment services. He says the company’s goal is to restore all service by late Sunday.

The facility in question was significantly damaged by the blast and then incurred fire and water damage that took out a number of backup power generators. Service was disrupted across parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama.

Authorities say they believe the man responsible for planting the bomb in the vehicle died in the blast. He was identified as 63-year-old Anthony Quinn Warner.

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5:05 p.m.

Authorities say the man suspected of setting off a bomb in a recreational vehicle that rocked downtown Nashville on Christmas Day died in the explosion.

U.S. Attorney Don Cochran identified the suspect on Sunday as Anthony Quinn Warner.

Investigators said they used DNA to identify the remains as Warner's. The FBI said they also matched the RV’s vehicle identification number to a registration belonging to Warner.

Federal agents and police had searched a home in suburban Nashville associated with Warner.

Authorities did not immediately provide details about a potential motive.

Douglas Korneski, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s office in Memphis, said there was no indication anyone aside from Warner was involved in the bombing. Three people were injured and dozens of buildings were damaged.

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3 p.m.

Authorities in Tennessee have shut down a road east of Nashville after stopping a box truck that they said had been playing audio “similar to what was heard” before a recreational vehicle exploded in downtown Nashville on Christmas Day.

The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office says on Twitter that law enforcement officials had shut down a section of highway in Wilson County, just east of Nashville, on Sunday to investigate a white box truck parked on the side of the road. Authorities had sent out a robot to investigate the vehicle as officials stood far back, monitoring the situation.

Sheriff’s officials said the truck had been playing the audio when it was parked at a convenience store around 10:30 a.m. at the Crossroads Market in Walter Hill. The driver left the parking lot and was pulled over by deputies in nearby Wilson County. Officials said the driver has been detained by law enforcement.

A Wilson County dispatcher said the road that was shut down was Murfreesboro Road between Cedar Forest Road and Richmond Shop Road.

Deputies said they had also evacuated residents in the area as they continued to investigate.

Before the RV blew up, it blared a recorded warning calling for people to evacuate, and then the 1964 song “Downtown” by Petula Clark. Sheriff's officials did not specify what the box truck was playing.

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1:15 p.m.

Nashville Police say a Tennessee man named Anthony Quinn Warner is under investigation in connection with the Christmas Day bombing that rocked downtown Nashville.

Metro Nashville Police Department Spokesman Don Aaron confirmed Warner's identity Sunday. Federal and state investigators are trying to determine who set off a bomb inside a recreational vehicle Friday morning, injuring three people and damaging more than 40 businesses. They are also working to identify human remains found at the scene.

Separately, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press that federal investigators have started examining Warner's digital footprint and financial history. They are also examining a recent deed transfer of a home in suburban Nashville.

The official could not discuss the case publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The official said forensic analysts are reviewing evidence collected from the blast site to try to identify the components of the explosives and are also reviewing information from the U.S. Bomb Data Center for intelligence and investigative leads.

Federal agents are examining a number of potential leads and pursuing several theories, including the possibility that an AT&T building was targeted. The bomb caused damage that affected communications in several states.

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9:30 a.m.

AT&T says it has been rerouting service to other facilities as the company works to restore a building that sustained heavy damage after a bomb exploded in downtown Nashville on Christmas Day.

The company said in a statement Sunday morning that mobile service has been restored to many areas that were affected by the blast. The company says it is bringing in resources to help recover affected wireline voice and data services and expects to have 24 additional trailers of disaster recovery equipment at the site by the end of the day.

The building's commercial power connections were damaged and forced offline after a bomb planted in a recreational vehicle parked nearby detonated Friday morning. Customers lost communications not only in Tennessee but in states including Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia.

The company says power has been has been restored to four of the building's floors. While three feet of water was pumped out of the building's basement on Saturday, access to the lower floors is still limited. Elevators, beams and columns and the building's facade were also damaged.