An officer who witnessed the Nashville explosion on Christmas Day said that he is alive today because God saved his life.
The officer’s life was saved after he made a last-minute decision to walk away from the vehicle just seconds before it blew up. The police have called the blast an “intentional act” that injured 3 people and destroyed 41 businesses and other buildings nearby.
Law enforcement agencies said they are not aware of the motive for the explosion which happened on Christmas Day. A recording with a woman’s voice from the RV announced a warning for people to evacuate and also played the song “Downtown” by Petula Clark before the blast happened.
James Wells and Amanda Topping, Metropolitan Nashville Police Officers were at the fag end of their shifts on Christmas morning when a fellow officer, Tyler Luellen, called for backup at a possible shooting. All of a sudden they heard a voice recording from an RV that told them to evacuate and that a bomb was inside. Topping stayed with her car and watched the road while others evacuated the building close by.
After some officers came out of the building, she went towards them, but noticed Wells by the RV and changed course and Wells too changed course at the last minute and turn toward her, seconds before the bomb went off. “This might not be politically correct, but this is my truth,” Wells said Sunday. “I literally heard God tell me to turn around and go check on Topping, who was by herself down on Broadway.”
Suddenly, Wells said, he lost his footing as the bomb went off. He said he also temporarily lost his hearing. But he soon regained his feet and ran toward Topping, who said she had only just begun to walk to him when she saw “the biggest flames” she had seen in her life.
“I don’t know how I kept my footing, but … I couldn’t see him for a second. I just lost it, and I just took off in a sprint towards him,” Topping said. “And, like he said, I’ve never grabbed somebody so hard in my life.” Wells said that he is a “spiritual” person and credited God with helping him survive.
“I’m not going to shy away from that, because that’s what saved my life,” Wells said. “That’s what got me to see my kids and my wife on Christmas. And ‘good to see you’ has a completely different meaning for me now.” The officers described the incident as a scene from a movie.
Some photos showing damage on 2nd Ave North as multiple agencies continue to work and investigate an explosion from earlier this morning. pic.twitter.com/0cWA3oUCDl
— Nashville Fire Dept (@NashvilleFD) December 25, 2020
Authorities are busy investigating hundreds of tips and leads and have refuted reports that there is a threat to Nashville. Federal agents searched the home of Anthony Quinn Warner, 63, on Saturday after leads showed an RV parked in the backyard matching the one used in the bombing. They are also examining tissue found after the explosion, to see if it was human remains, Police Chief John Drake said.
Luellen, the first officer to arrive at the scene wasn’t suspicious of the RV, nor did he notice anyone around it. He did go to check for tags after hearing a bomb warning but saw nothing to identify the RV which had all its shades down. “I don’t know for what reason the gentleman or female, whoever it was that actually did this, gave the notice,” Luellen said. “I’m just grateful that we actually had time to try and help people clear out.”