A Tennessee man was apprehended Sunday afternoon after he reportedly played audio from a box truck “similar” to what witnesses heard before a Christmas morning RV explosion in downtown Nashville, according to local authorities.
James Turgeon, 33, has been charged with two felony counts of allegedly filing a false report and one count of evidence tampering, revealed the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department. Authorities did not go into detail about the audio, but an emergency dispatcher received a call about the truck when it was close to a market on Sunday morning, the AP reported.
The precise nature of the “false reports” referenced by the sheriff’s department is currently unclear. However, under Tennessee law it is a felony to “intentionally initiate or circulate a report of a past, present, or impending bombing, fire or other emergency, knowing that the report is false or baseless, knowing it will cause a public disruption, fear of imminent and serious bodily harm, or prompt an emergency response.”
According to the sheriff’s department, Turgeon played loud audio from his truck while at a nearby market and earlier in the day made “a similar announcement” at Kings Chapel Missionary Independent Baptist Church while the church was holding Sunday morning service.
The box truck’s audio initiated emergency responders to close down a stretch of road, order nearby residents to evacuate, arrest the driver, and send a robot to determine whether there was an active threat against the community. No explosive device was found.
The Daily Wire reported:
During the Nashville bombing on Christmas morning, a voice emanating from an RV warned that an explosion would occur soon and that people needed to evacuate. According to The Washington Post, some witnesses to the Nashville incident reported hearing gunshots before the bomb threat was issued and that the RV started playing music shortly before it exploded.
Authorities have since identified the Nashville bomber and determined that he died in the blast. The man is believed to have acted alone in the attack.
“We’re still following leads, but right now, there is no indication that any other persons were involved,” said FBI special agent Doug Korneski. “We’ve reviewed hours of security video surrounding the recreational vehicle. We saw no other people involved around that vehicle.”
Authorities have not determined a motive for why the man detonated the RV in downtown Nashville and elected not to call the bombing an act of domestic terrorism, noting the strict definition needed to label the act as such.
“When we assess an event for domestic terrorism, it has to be tied to an ideology,” said Korneski. “It’s the use of force or violence in the furtherance of a political, social ideology or bent. We haven’t tied it to that yet.”
Police Chief John Drake emphasized Sunday that there are no known threats against the city and that “Nashville is considered safe,” the Daily Wire reported.