The man authorities have identified as setting off a bomb in downtown Nashville Christmas morning claimed he had cancer and had been in the process of getting all of his affairs in order prior to the explosion, a report said Sunday.
The FBI announced earlier that Anthony Warner, 63, a freelance IT contractor, as having carried out the attack after identifying him via DNA samples taken at the scene, where he rigged an RV to blow up.
Prior to the early-morning explosion, a recorded announcement warned residents that a bomb was set to detonate. Then, moments before the detonation, the playback switched to a recording of Petunia Clark’s 1964 hit “Downtown.”
The New York Times reported that in the weeks before the suicide bombing, which injured three people and caused a great deal of damage, Warner told his former girlfriend that he had cancer and gave her his car.
The paper also said that on Dec. 5 he told a real estate agent he was employed by as a technology consultant that he was going to retire.
And just a month before the attack, Warner gave his $160,000 home and another to a 29-year-old California woman, Michelle Swing, though investigators are still unclear what link he had to her, the Daily Mail first reported.
To that point, the FBI and other authorities are still trying to piece together Warner’s life and actions ahead of the bombing to come up as to why he appears to have staged it.
Neighbors described Warner as an “oddball” who was “heavily into conspiracy theories,” a source close to the probe told the Daily Mail.
One of those conspiracies, apparently, is that he believed 5G technology is responsible for killing people including his father, who died in 2011. Warner’s father was employed by telecom company BellSouth, which merged with AT&T in December 2006.
The attack heavily damaged a crucial AT&T transmission center, disrupting phone communications in several states that the company is now quickly attempting to repair.
FBI agents have collected electronic devices at Warner’s home in the Nashville suburb of Antioch and have sent them to a forensics lab to try and gain access to any online activity in a bid to see if he discussed his conspiracies.
“We are waiting on the digital footprint that should finally provide us with some answers,” the source told the Daily Mail.
“The unofficial motive thus far is the suspect believed 5G was the root of all deaths in the region and he’d be hailed a hero,” the source continued.
Investigators are beginning to focus in on the death of Warner’s father, Charles “Popeye” Warner, who died from dementia at 78 after spending the bulk of his life working for BellSouth, the Daily Mail — which obtained his death certificate — reported.
But the FBI isn’t saying at this point what motivated Warner, specifically, to carry out his attack.
“These answers won’t come quickly and will still require a lot of our team’s efforts,” said FBI Special Agent Doug Koreski Sunday during a news conference.
“Though we may be able to answer some of these questions as our investigation continues, none of those answers will be enough by those affected by this event,” he noted further.
That said, other oddities involving Warner have already been uncovered, including details surrounding a lawsuit filed against him by his mother last year involving a dispute over the family home, which Warner signed over to Swing in addition to his own home.
The lawsuit was settled last year after Swing used a legal transfer process to sign over the proper to Warner’s mother, Betty Christine Lane, who had divorced his father years before his 2011 death.
Swing told the Daily Mail she had no idea that Warner had signed over the property to her. But The Sun reports that Warner informed Swing of the property transfer in November, in which he wrote, “The attic has plywood and lighting, take a look. The basement is not normal, take a look. Woof woof Julio.”
Asked about a connection to him, Swing said: “I’ve been told to direct everything else to FBI.”
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