Fact Check

Did the Nashville Bomber Die From COVID-19?

It takes some conspiratorial thinking to get this sarcasm.

Published Dec 29, 2020

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 25: FBI and first responders work on the scene after an explosion on December 25, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. According to initial reports, a vehicle exploded downtown in the early morning hours. (Photo by Thaddaeus McAdams/Getty Images) (Thaddaeus McAdams/Getty Images)
Image Via Thaddaeus McAdams/Getty Images
The man responsible for the bombing in Nashville, Tennessee, died from COVID-19.

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On Christmas day 2020, a recreational vehicle exploded outside of an AT&T building in Nashville, Tennessee. Authorities determined that the bomb was set off by 63-year-old Anthony Quinn Warner, and that Warner also died in the blast.

A few days later, a rumor started to circulate on social media that Warner had actually died from COVID-19:

These messages are not relaying any "breaking news" related to the bomber's death. These messages were likely posted sarcastically in jest and are presumably based on the false notion that health officials have been artificially inflating the death toll from COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed more than 330,000 American lives over the last year. As health officials worked to contain the virus and treat those who had been infected, various false or misleading rumors were circulated that accused doctors, hospitals, and the Center of Disease Control and Prevention of over-counting coronavirus deaths. The above-displayed messages appear to play into this false narrative, claiming that even though Warner clearly died in a violent explosion, health officials had determined that his cause of death was COVID-19.

This, of course, is not true. The Nashville bomber did not die of COVID-19.

Donald Q. Cochran, the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, said that Warner "was present when the bomb went off," and perished during the explosion.

The New York Times reported:

DNA tests conducted on human remains found in the wreckage of the Christmas Day bombing in Nashville match a 63-year-old man who had been identified as a person of interest in the investigation, law enforcement officials said on Sunday.

Officials said that the man, identified as Anthony Quinn Warner, died in the explosion.

“Anthony Warner is the bomber,” Donald Q. Cochran, the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, said at a news conference on Sunday afternoon. “He was present when the bomb went off and he perished in the bombing.”

Law enforcement officials said that there were no indications of anyone else being involved in the bombing, and the investigation continued into possible motives behind it. The sprawling inquiry has included hundreds of federal agents and officers pursuing more than 500 leads since Friday.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.