‘Mistakes were made’: Nashville explosion suspect was ‘building bombs’ in 2019, board releases police review

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – An eight-page report, released Wednesday, evaluates every step Metro Nashville Police officers made following a claim by Anthony Warner’s girlfriend in 2019 that Warner was making a bomb at his home on Bakertown Road.

“It is impossible to know what, if anything, could have prevented this terrible incident,” said Ed Yarbrough Nashville Attorney and former United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, who was a member of the review committee.


Board releases review of police response to 2019 complaint Nashville explosion suspect was ‘building bombs’

He continued, “The fact that a few mistakes were made is important, and I understand steps will be made to correct that.”

16 months after the complaint was made, federal investigators said Warner detonated a bomb that rocked downtown Nashville on Christmas Day putting lives at risk, damaging dozens of buildings, displacing residents, and affecting more than 40 businesses.

On January 7th Metro Police Chief John Drake assembled a team of five, including three from outside the department, to complete an after-action review of the MNPD’s response to the tip.


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“While we do think they could have been more diligent at times, it is impossible to say what they would have found if they’d looked harder, what they would have learned if they had investigated more,” Yarbrough said.

According to police reports, officers visited Warner at his home on August 21st, 2019, and despite several attempts in the week that followed, officers never made contact with Warner. The visits were not documented. That will now change.

“We want our investigative units of hazardous devices to document all incidents instead of committing it to memory,” said Chief Drake.


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A monthly explosive summit consisting of local and federal agencies will meet to review tips.

“The summit would provide a form for regular discussions on investigations,” explained Chief Drake.

And before a case is closed, Drake said new a process will be followed, “A four-part closure system to make sure there is no gaps.”


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Since the bombing, Chief Drake has made changes.

“I credit the police department for already implementing many of the changes which we would have recommended,” Yarbrough said, “but actually they had already noticed.”

In an effort to make the agency better, Chief Drake said, and to hopefully prevent anything like this from ever happening in our community again.


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At this moment, none of the officers are facing disciplinary action for their handling of the 2019 complaint. Chief Drake added an internal review is underway.

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