One of the six brave police officers who evacuated people minutes before the explosion on Christmas Day in Nashville, United States, said she spoke to her wife while she was on her rescue mission. Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, officer Amanda Topping who had joined the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) just 21 months ago,  recalled telling her wife  that “things were just, really strange.”

Christmas Day Bomber Identified

MNPD said that 63-year-old Anthony Quinn Warner is suspected to have been the Nashville Christmas Day bomber and is believed to have died in the explosion. Investigations are on in the case and the FBI and police have not yet found the motive for the attack. 

‘Evacuate Now!’

Police were called in at dawn around 5.30 am on December 25, 2020, to a historic street in Nashville, following 911 calls made by residents about hearing gunfire noise in the neighbourhood. When police officers arrived at the scene, they found a white RV parked  on the road in front of an AT&T transmission building. The RV was broadcasting a message saying that a blast would occur in 15 minutes. “Evacuate now,” the automated female voice said. 

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Six police officers, including Topping, who arrived at the scene scrambled and started knocking on the doors of residents to evacuate them. Around 6.30 am, the message changed and started playing “Downtown” by Petula Clark. Moments later, the RV exploded. Three people were injured, but they were not in a critical condition. The bravery of the police officers probably saved many lives. 

Officer Topping told wife, ‘it’s a little strange!’

Topping said that she was with officer James Wells when the call for assistance from another officer came in. 

“My wife had just called because it was toward the end of our shift, so she was seeing what time I was coming home. Well, I told her we were about to head to this call, it’s a little strange,” Topping said at the press conference

Topping and Wells had initially parked right next to the RV, but later moved their car when they heard the vehicle broadcasting the sinister message. 

“That’s just stuff that I’ll never forget – the sound of the announcement saying the primary objective is to evacuate, evacuate now. The female voice (was) just odd.”

Topping was tasked with helping the traffic and worked to keep pedestrians, cars  and other vehicles away from the area. 

When the RV started playing the song, Topping said she wanted to check with her fellow officers if they needed to evacuate more people out of the buildings. 

“I wanted to know, do we need to go into more buildings, what do we need to do? I was just getting really antsy. I had just talked to my wife again, just told her that things were just, really strange,” Topping recalled. 

Hero cops saved lives

As she started walking towards the other officers, she saw Wells standing near his car. Wells said at the press conference that he felt like God asked him to turn around and check on Topping. 

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When Topping saw Wells turn and walk towards her, she crossed to the other side of the road. 

“As I start walking towards him, he starts walking towards me. You can see on the camera, too, the footage I’ve seen it. I told him I didn’t think anyone would ever believe him, how close he was. And I was probably about ten steps away from him. And we’re just walking towards each other and I just saw the biggest flames I’ve ever seen. The biggest explosion.”

Wells stumbled and Topping ran towards him. The officers grabbed each other and “ducked into a door way because we didn’t know what was coming afterwards.”

“I’ll never forget the windows shattering after the blast all around me. It kind of looked like a big prop from a movie scene, all the glass breaking at once.”

Topping along with Wells and four other officers Brenna Hosey, James Luellen, Michael Sipos and Timothy Miller have been lauded for their quicking thinking and efforts to save people. 

“They didn’t think about their own lives. They thought about the citizens of Nashville and protecting them. They might not think they’re heroes because they go about this job each and every day, but they are our heroes, and they had a really heroic effort that morning,” said MNPD police chief John Drake. 

 

 

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