Nashville officers displayed ‘true heroism’ during RV explosion incident: FOP president
Nashville Fraternal Order of Police President James Smallwood tells ‘FOX & Friends Weekend’ officers ‘did everything they could’ to keep residents safe.
The FBI and Nashville police are on the hunt for the perpetrator of a Christmas Day explosion downtown that caused destruction across several blocks.
Authorities are calling the bombing "an intentional act" and have found possible human remains in the area. The bomb detonated inside an RV parked on historic Second Avenue near Lower Broadway, injuring three people including a police officer.
No known suspects or motive behind the blast have been announced.
"We will find out who did this," FBI Special Agent Matt Foster said during a Friday news conference, according to The Tennessean.
"This is our city, too. We’re putting everything we have into finding who was responsible for what happened here today."
The FBI's Memphis field office is investigating along with local officials and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the city of Nashville activated its Emergency Operations Center.
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice said Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen "directed that all DOJ resources be made available to assist in the investigation."
"We’re putting everything we have into finding who was responsible for what’s happened here today," Foster said Friday.
Metro Nashville Police Department Chief John Drake told reporters that authorities do not believe there is any further risk "to the downtown area."
FBI VOWS TO SOLVE NASHVILLE BLAST MYSTERY: ‘WE WILL FIND OUT WHO DID THIS’
Emergency personnel work near the scene of an explosion in downtown Nashville, Tenn., Friday, Dec. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Celebrities and organizations have already raised more than $300,000 for a reward to help find the suspect.
The Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp initially offered a $10,000 reward for anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of the perpetrator, which the organization later raised to $25,000, according to WKRN.
Others have also put money toward a reward for those with information, including FOX Sports host Clay Travis, who gave $10,000, Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis, who donated $250,000, and owners of the Lewis Country Store, who added $20,000.
The RV blew up at approximately 6:30 a.m. local time.
It was unclear whether the remains located near the site belong to a victim of the explosion or if they were of the person responsible. Forensic experts will examine the tissue, according to authorities.
"This appears to have been an intentional act," Metro police tweeted. "Law enforcement is closing downtown streets as [the] investigation continues."
An audio warning was broadcast from the RV just before it blew up, Drake said at the news conference.
VEHICLE PLAYED RECORDING SAYING BOMB WOULD DETONATE, UNKNOWN IF SOMEONE INSIDE RV: POLICE
"If you can hear this message, evacuate now," the warning said.
Officers first responded to the area after receiving a report of shots fired, Drake said. They called in the bomb squad after seeing the suspicious vehicle, the RV, broadcasting the message, which some witnesses believe included the gunshot sounds.
Drake said officers found the RV as the message said the bomb inside would explode in 15 minutes.
"Basically, [it] was saying that it was going to detonate within a certain time frame," Drake said. "The officers immediately began knocking on doors and evacuating residents here not knowing if the bomb was going to detonate immediately or if it was going to go off in the time that it stated."
As of late Friday, police did not know if anyone had been inside the vehicle at the time of the explosion.
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The injured people were in stable condition, Mayor John Cooper said. At least 41 area businesses and several homes were damaged. Several residents were displaced, Fire Chief William Swann said.
Fox News' Ronn Blitzer and Louis Casiano contributed to this report.
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