The voice repeated the message, counting down as the minutes passed.
“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; and
- Sergeant 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.
“This area must be evacuated now,” the voice said three times.
“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.