These six Nashville police officers evacuated residents moments before motor home exploded

 

The computerized voice emanating from the white motor home offered a terrifying warning: “This vehicle will explode in 15 minutes. “The voice repeated the message, counting down as the minutes passed.

As the countdown continued, six police officers who heard those warnings sprang into

action, helping residents in downtown Nashville evacuate before the motor home made

good on its threat and exploded Friday morning. The bomb tore through the neighborhood

in the predawn hours, yet only injured three people thanks to the officers’ quick work and

bravery, officials said.”Officers immediately began knocking on doors and evacuating

residents here, not knowing if the bomb was going to detonate immediately or if it was

going to go off in the time that it was stated, ” Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake

said. Nashville Mayor John Cooper praised the six responding officers, saying they “took

swift action and directed people away from danger to save lives, even at the time that their

own lives were imperiled. “”They are heroes.

And I am grateful for them and all of Nashville’s first responders, ” Cooper said. The

Metropolitan Nashville Police Department identified the officers in a news release late Friday

as:Officer Brenna Hosey, who has been with the department for 4 years; Officer James

Luellen, who has been with the department for 3 years; Officer Michael Sipos, who has

been with the department for 16 months; Officer Amanda Topping, who has been with the

department for 21 months; Officer James Wells, who has been with the department for 21

months; andSergeant Timothy Miller, who has been with the department for 11 years. The

RV’s explosion shattered windows and sent flaming pieces of debris through the air,

damaging several buildings. Three civilians were hospitalized and are in stable condition,

officials said. The force of the explosion knocked down one officer, police spokesman Don

Aaron said, and caused hearing loss in another.

But no officers suffered serious injuries. Mayor Cooper described it as a “deliberate bomb, ”

but officials did not yet have a full explanation for the unusual warnings and blast. Nashville

Vice Mayor Jim Shulman told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Friday that a female voice was

speaking in the warning message played from the RV. Betsy Williams, a witness who lives

in another building across the street from the explosion, described it as a “computerized”

and female voice.”This area must be evacuated now, ” the voice said three times. Mayor

Cooper noted the hardships the city has faced this year and expressed appreciation for the

efforts of the responding officers.

“This is a year where we understand what our first responders mean to our community

time and time again, ” Cooper said. “Unfortunately on Christmas Day, you have another

example of that. “CNN’s Paul P. Murphy and Hollie Silverman contributed to this report.

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