Investigators are reportedly examining whether a suicide bomber with a fear of 5G technology could be behind a Christmas morning explosion in historic downtown Nashville that injured three people.
The explosion, which caused extensive damage to dozens of buildings in Tennessee’s largest city, took place outside a facility owned by the telecommunications company AT&T and took out of service or damaged mobile phone services in several other cities.
The FBI, which is leading the investigation, has said it is too early to focus on one theory.
Federal agents spent the weekend investigating a 63-year-old man who owned an RV motorhome similar to the one that detectives believe turned into a mobile bomb and was driven to the scene.
Meanwhile, a Nashville television news channel reported that a person of interest, named Anthony Warner from a southeastern suburb of the city, was working as an information technology consultant for a real estate company.
Steve Fridrich, a real estate agent who contacted the FBI after hearing the man’s name in a newsletter, told WSMV TV that federal agents had asked him if Warner was paranoid about 5G technology.
According to WSMVSources close to the police investigation have said that among the various boards and lines of investigation there was one that suggested Warner swallowed a conspiracy theory that 5G technology was being used to spy on Americans.
The FBI has not named a suspect, but searched Warner’s home in the Nashville suburb of Antioch after bomb squad technicians cleared the property. Earlier, a spokesperson said human remains were recovered from the blast site and the agency was not actively searching for more suspects.
DNA results in human tissue were expected shortly.
On Saturday, Douglas Korneski, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Memphis field office, said hundreds of agents were examining at least 500 leads and leads, and that it was too early to focus on one particular theory.
“It’s going to take us some time,” he said at a news conference Saturday night. “We are analyzing all possible reasons [and] our research team is turning every stone. “
When asked if the AT&T building could have been a possible target, Korneski said: “We are looking at all the possible motives that could be involved.”
On Sunday, the mayor of Nashville appeared to indicate that the 5G conspiracy theory could be relevant to the investigation. “For all of us locally, it seems like there has to be some connection to the AT&T facility and the scene of the bombing,” John Cooper said on CBS’s Face the Nation.
“That is only local information, because it has to have something to do with the infrastructure.”
Cooper has been in close contact with federal and local law enforcement agencies conducting the investigation, as well as with Republican Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, who has asked Donald Trump for a federal disaster declaration.
The president, meanwhile, was golfing in Florida on Sunday and the White House had not responded to Lee’s request.
The blast occurred early on Christmas morning when police officers, called to the scene over reports of shooting, attempted to evacuate local residents. An ominous full-volume recording from the motor home of a woman’s voice, interspersed with snippets of music, warned that an explosion was imminent.
Two officers sustained non-life threatening injuries when the blast sent black smoke and flames from the heart of downtown Nashville’s central tourist district.
Civil and emergency communications networks in Nashville and several other cities, including Louisville, Knoxville, Birmingham and Atlanta, were affected.
AT&T said restoration efforts faced challenges, including a fire that “rekindled overnight and led to the evacuation of the building.” This has forced teams to work with safety and structural engineers and drill access holes in the building to reconnect power.
“Our teams continue to work day and night on recovery efforts,” the company said in a statement Saturday. “We have two portable mobile sites operating in downtown Nashville with numerous additional portable sites being rolled out in the Nashville area and region.”
Ray Neville, president of technology for T-Mobile, another wireless network provider, said on Twitter: “We continue to see service disruptions. Restoration efforts continue 24 hours a day and we will keep you posted on progress. “
The disruptions briefly disrupted flights at Nashville International Airport, although service had returned to normal by Saturday night. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued flight restrictions around the airport until December 30.
Cooper signed a civil emergency declaration for the blast-affected areas of Nashville, including a curfew.
Associated Press contributed to this report.
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