A 33-year-old man in Tennessee was arrested on Sunday afternoon after he played audio from a box truck “similar” to what witnesses heard prior to the Christmas morning RV explosion in downtown Nashville, local authorities revealed Sunday evening.
James Turgeon, 33, has been charged with two felony counts of filing a false report and one count of evidence tampering, revealed the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department. Authorities didn’t elaborate on the nature of the audio, but an emergency dispatcher received a call about the truck when it was near a market on Sunday morning, reports The Associated Press.
The exact nature of the “false reports” referenced by the sheriff’s department is 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.
Church members, store customers heard a box truck driver play audio Sunday similar to the audio heard before the Nashville explosion.@RCTNSheriff charged driver James Turgeon with filing two false reports and tampering with evidence.
Thanks to our 1st responder partners.
— RCTNSheriff (@RCTNSheriff) December 28, 2020
The box truck’s audio prompted 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 of some sort against the community. No explosive device was found.
— Brittany Weiner (@brittweinerTV) December 27, 2020
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 declined Sunday 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.”
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