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Suspect in Nashville Christmas morning explosion died in the blast, investigators say

"We can tell you Anthony Warner is the man believed to be responsible for this horrible crime," a police official said.
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The suspect in the Christmas morning explosion that rocked downtown Nashville, Tennessee, identified as Anthony Quinn Warner, 63, died in the blast, investigators said Sunday.

Speaking to reporters, authorities said state and federal investigators matched DNA from the scene of the explosion to items collected from Warner and his relatives.

Douglas Korenski, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Memphis field office, said investigators also matched an identification number from an RV that officials say blew up to a vehicle registered by Warner.

Surveillance video obtained by investigators showed that no one else was seen around the vehicle at the time of the blast, Korenski said.

"We can tell you Anthony Warner is the man believed to be responsible for this horrible crime," said John Drake, chief of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.

Donald Q. Cochran, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, added that Warner was “present” went the “bomb” detonated and died in the explosion.

The officials declined to say whether they had determined what kind of explosives had been used. Korenski said investigators were also working to identify a possible motive for the blast.

Multiple senior law enforcement officials told NBC News on Sunday that prior to the explosion, Warner told a woman that he had cancer. It was unclear whether this was true, the officials said, but Warner gave the woman his car.

The officials did not identify the woman. An FBI spokesperson said agents are investigating all aspects of the case.

The explosion occurred at 6:30 a.m. local time on Dec. 25, as police officers were responding to reports of gunfire in the area.

The responding officers heard a warning of an imminent explosion coming from a speaker system in the RV, which was parked outside an AT&T building. The officers also heard the vehicle broadcasting the song, “Downtown,” by Petula Clark.

In a separate news conference earlier Sunday, one of the responding officers, James Wells, described losing his footing — and temporarily, his hearing — after the vehicle detonated.

An estimated 41 businesses were damaged in the blast, including the AT&T building, which suffered “significant” damage, the company said Sunday. Nashville’s 911 system was temporarily disrupted, planes at Nashville International Airport were grounded and service was interrupted in Kentucky and Alabama.

The company said in a statement Sunday that it had restored power to multiple floors of the building and deployed 25 temporary satellite cell towers to the city.

More than 90 percent of AT&T's wireless network was working again, though less of its business and broadband services were fully functional, the company said.