The country music capital of the world has been hit by a massive bomb attack on Christmas Day.

Nashville residents were initially woken by the sound of what is believed to have been gunshots just before dawn, and saw a white RV (recreational vehicle) parked in the street.  Moments later, the sound of a woman’s voice started emanating from the vehicle – what is understood to be an automated recording – advising that the vehicle contained a bomb which would detonate in 15 minutes and advising people to evacuate the area.

Police, already alerted to reports of gunshots, were quickly on the scene and discovered the vehicle and the recorded message.  They immediately began to evacuate the area while the bomb squad was called in.

As bomb squad officers approached the vehicle, it exploded at 6:30am, shattering windows and sending flaming pieces of wreckage and debris through the air, causing major damage to several buildings.

On Friday night, Nashville Mayor John Cooper said the blast was caused by a “deliberate bomb”.  Metro Nashville Police Department Chief John Drake confirmed that investigators had discovered what they believed to be human tissue near the blast site.

The blast tore into more than 40 businesses and caused one building to partially collapse.

The vehicle was parked directly outside of the AT&T building – leading to speculation that the business may have been a target as opposed to innocent people; a claim further bolstered by the apparent audio warning about the device – but at this stage this remains unconfirmed.  The AT&T building is the company’s network hub and the resulting damage knocked out vital services across the region, resulting in Nashville Airport having to temporarily suspend flights due to communications problems.

The scene of the blast in Nashville

The scene of the attack on 2nd Avenue in downtown Nashville is in the heart of the city’s country music district, just walking distance from iconic attractions including the Ryman Auditorium, the Grand Ole Opry and the Johnny Cash Museum.

Three people, including an officer caught directly in the explosion, were injured.

Many of country music’s top stars have shared their thoughts and prayers for those involved, with Carrie Underwood tweeting her thanks for the emergency services.

Last Updated: Sat 26 Dec 2020, 11:41am