The suspected Nashville Christmas bomber said “the world is never going to forget me,” just days before the explosion, a neighbor of his told The Associated Press in an interview published Monday.
Rick Laude told the AP he was speechless when he discovered Anthony Q. Warner is suspected of detonating the bomb on Christmas Day.
Laude said he casually asked Warner less than a week before then, “Is Santa going to bring you anything good for Christmas?”
He said that Warner smiled and responded, “Oh, yeah, Nashville and the world is never going to forget me.”
Warner was identified Sunday by Tennessee authorities as a person of interest in the RV bombing on Friday. U.S. Attorney Don Cochran said on Sunday that Warner had been identified through DNA found at the blast site and is believed to have died in the explosion.
Three others were injured in the blast, and dozens of buildings were damaged.
“Nothing about this guy raised any red flags,” Laude told the AP. “He was just quiet.”
FBI agents searched Warner’s home as well as a local real estate agency where he was employed as a contract worker. The owner of the real estate agency similarly told local media that there had been no warning signs to Warner’s intentions. He reportedly resigned from his job early in December without giving reason for quitting.
The AP reports that although Warner's motives remain unknown, signs that he planned on killing himself have been discovered. The news outlet notes that Warner had recently given away a vehicle, telling the person he gave it to that he had cancer. It is unclear if Warner actually had cancer.
He had also given away his Antioch home to a woman from Los Angeles one month before the bombing, the AP notes. Documents appear to suggest that Warner signed over ownership without exchanging any money.
Warner had not been on the radar before the bombing and his actions have brought into question the seeming ease at which he was able to construct and detonate a highly destructive bomb.
David Rausch, the director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in an AP interview on Monday, "It does appear that the intent was more destruction than death, but again that’s all still speculation at this point as we continue in our investigation with all our partners."
Investigators are reportedly looking into whether Warner was targeting the nearby AT&T building. The blast damaged AT&T's infrastructure, causing thousands of customers and businesses to lose connection. Emergency service communication and 911 phone lines were down across several Southern states.
AT&T has yet to fully restore its infrastructure, the Tennessean reports, though most of its system has been restored as of Sunday.