NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Anthony Quinn Warner is a person of interest in the investigation of the explosion downtown on Christmas Day, Police Chief John Drake confirmed Sunday.
Warner, 63, is a longtime Nashvillian who has held several IT jobs. Federal authorities scoured the city for evidence on Warner.
Public records show he has extensive experience with electronics and alarm systems. He worked as an independent computer technician with the real estate firm Fridrich & Clark.
Federal agents searched his home in Antioch, Tennessee, and the Fridrich & Clark real estate office in Nashville on Saturday.
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Google Street View images of Warner’s home show a white RV parked behind a wooden fence on the property. His neighbors reported seeing the RV at the home for years.
A white RV was at the center of the blast Friday morning on Second Avenue in downtown Nashville.
Police said the explosion came from the RV soon after a speaker system broadcast a warning to evacuate the area. Authorities have not identified whose human tissue was found Friday at the blast site, Darrell DeBusk, a public affairs officer for the FBI, said Sunday afternoon. He could not provide an estimate on when the results would be available.
“It depends on the lab and the evidence,” DeBusk told The Tennessean, part of the USA TODAY Network. “This case is receiving priority.”
Police in the area moments before the blast said the speakers 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 before the blast: “The lights are much brighter there.”
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Neighbor: Warner never talked politics; kept to himself
Steve Schmoldt and his wife have lived next to Warner for more than two decades.
Schmoldt described his longtime neighbor as friendly, someone with whom he made brief small talk.
He said Warner was “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 placed lights and security cameras outside his house.
Warner did a lot of work in his yard. Schmoldt said Warner built the fence around his yard himself.
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.
Schmoldt said that after the RV had been parked outside the home for years, a couple of 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 that exploded.
It didn’t click that their neighbor might be connected until Saturday, when they saw a large group of law enforcement officers 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 midmorning Saturday.
Court records show a quitclaim deed transfer of Warner’s residence from Warner to an individual with a Los Angeles address on Nov. 25 for $0.
Warner owned electronics and alarm company
State business records show 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 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 in the property transfer since it resulted in personal financial gain.
The case was dismissed in October 2019 at the mother’s request. Attorney Yancy Belcher said the family asked the mother not to speak to the media.
The Warner family has been in Nashville 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.