Nashville’s chief of police on Wednesday defended how his department handled a tip from the summer of 2019 that Anthony Quinn Warner, the lone suspect in last week’s blast, was making bombs in his recreational vehicle.
John Drake, the chief of Nashville’s Metropolitan Police Department, weighed in after the MPD revealed it was told Warner was making bombs in his RV more than a year before the blast.
“At no time was there any evidence or reasonable suspicion that a crime was being committed, and our officers had no legal basis to go into Warner’s fenced-in yard or home during August 2019,” he said.
“We had no legal basis for search warrants or subpoenas based on what we knew at the time,” added Chief Drake, a 32-year veteran of the department who officially assumed its top role late last month.
Warner, 63, is blamed with blowing up an RV on Christmas morning that was parked outside an AT&T switching facility in downtown Nashville. His remains were later found on the scene. No others were killed.
The MPD acknowledged earlier Wednesday that Warner’s former girlfriend, Pamela Perry, told police last year that he was into building bombs.
Ms. Perry “made statements that her boyfriend,” Warner, “was building bombs in the RV trailer at his residence,” a police officer wrote in the 2019 incident report.
Raymond Throckmorton, a lawyer for both Warner and Ms. Perry, “stated that he believes that the suspect [Warner] knows what he is doing and is capable of making a bomb,” the incident report said.
Chief Drake said Wednesday that MPD and its Hazardous Devices Unit subsequently tried repeatedly to speak with Warner but were unsuccessful. Local and federal investigators were also alerted, he added.
“No additional action was taken after late August, and, to the best of my knowledge, no other reports or information about Warner came into the police department,” he said.
The FBI previously said it looked into Warner upon being alerted by MPD but found no records of him in its databases. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.