Heroic police officers lauded for preventing massacre during Nashville explosion

'They ran to danger with uncertain outcomes ahead of them; they were responsible for so many innocents being saved," Nashville mayor says.

Updated: December 26, 2020 - 1:39pm

Six Nashville police officers are being lauded for their heroism after they helped wake and evacuate citizens before a bomb hidden in a RV rocked their neighborhood on Christmas morning. 

From public officials to private residents, the officers were hailed Friday night for risking their own lives and saving scores of fellow citizens. Half the officers were rookies with less than two years on the job, and one suffered some temporary hearing loss from the blast, officials said.

"Those officers saved lives today," Nashville Police Chief John Drake told a news conference. "They immediately began knocking on doors, not knowing if the bomb was going to go off immediately. They didn't care about themselves, they didn't think about that, they cared about the citizens of Nashville." 

Security footage showed an officer redirecting a man walking his dog just before the blast struck. Neighbors said the officers saved lives.

"I'm so glad we left. I'm so glad we have our kids. And above anything else, I am so glad for those officers that walked into a building that they knew was a dangerous spot to be and, you know, woke us up and got us out," Noelle Rasmussen told CBS News. I'm so grateful."

Mayor John Cooper said the officers were unequivocally "heroes."

"They ran to danger with uncertain outcomes ahead of them; they were responsible for so many innocents being saved," Cooper told an evening news conference.

The officers were identified as:

  • Patrolwoman Brenna Hosey, a 4-year veteran;
  • Patrolman James Luellen, a 3-year veteran;
  • Patrolman Michael Sipos, a 16-month veteran;
  • PatrolmanAmanda Topping, a 21-month veteran; 
  • Patrolman James Wells, also a 21-month veteran;
  • Sergeant Timothy Miller, an 11-year veteran.

Police said they believed the explosion was intentionally set, and that a recorded voice warned residents for about 15 minutes before the 6:30 a.m. CST explosion that there was a bomb inside the motorhome.

The explosion, just a few blocks from the heart of country music's most iconic establishments like the Ryman Auditorium, severely damaged about two dozen buildings, wounded three people and disabled an AT&T facility, disrupting 911 emergency service and telephone service from Tennessee to Georgia for hours.

Police said suspected human remains were found in the vicinity but no victims or suspects have been identified.