A police officer caught in a Christmas Day bombing incident in Nashville has spoken about hoping to make it home to her wife ahead of the explosion.
Officer Amanda Topping is among six officers from the Metro Nashville Police Department who have earned praise for their actions preventing casualties on 25 December after a camper van exploded on Second Avenue in downtown Nashville.
Bombing suspect Anthony Warner, 63, is believed to have died in the blast, which occurred after police were called to the scene – with the vehicle rigged to play an ominous automated message and the vintage song “Downtown” as it counted down to the detonation.
Three civilians were hurt in the explosion, with Topping and her colleagues hailed as “heroes” by local officials for their quick work to prevent further casualties by evacuating the area.
Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Topping spoke about being called to the incident after an “odd” call on Christmas morning.
Topping, who has been with the department for two years, said: “We were sitting [in the station], and my wife had just called because it was toward the end of our shift, so she was seeing what time I was coming home.
“I’m talking to her, and I told her, ‘We’re about to head to this call, it’s a little strange.’ I hung up with her, and we get there but we didn’t really know. too much about it.”
After getting to the scene, she recalled: “I heard what the RV was saying, and it’s stuff that I’ll never forget – it was a female voice saying, ‘Your primary objective is to evacuate. Evacuate now.’
“I was pacing back and forth, having to turn pedestrians around… you just have a feeling, ‘Something’s not right.’ You just don’t get stuff like that.
“I was standing there by my car, and I heard [another officer] say that music just came on. I was about to get on the radio and say, ‘I know it’s not my place, but everybody’s getting out of the buildings, right?’
“I was getting really antsy… I had talked to my wife again and told her things were really strange.”