NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Police body camera footage taken from one of the six Nashville police officers credited with evacuating people before last week’s Christmas Day bombing shows the moments before and after the blast that shook the city’s downtown.
The 13-minute video taken from Officer Michael Sipos’ camera shows him and other officers walking in the area as they try to investigate a suspicious RV blaring a loud warning around 6:30 a.m., Fox News reported.
“Your primary objective is to evacuate these buildings now,” a voice can be heard coming from the RV. “Do not approach this vehicle.”
The footage shows the officers trying to evacuate families ahead of the blast as the RV warns of a bomb. As Sipos and another officer walk across the street from the vehicle, he comments on the alert.
“That’s so weird,” he said. “That’s like something out of a movie.”
“Like ‘The Purge,'” the other officer responds.
At one point, the RV began playing a song identified by authorities as “Downtown” by Petula Clark.
“Between myself and all the other officers, I think we made contact with six or seven families,” Sipos told reporters Sunday. “At that point, Officer [Tyler] Luellen who was outside, let us know that the recording had changed. I believe that’s when a song started playing.
In the video, one officer is heard observing that the RV is parked next to an AT&T building.
“That building that it’s next to is the building that houses all the hardlines for phones throughout the southeast,” the officer said.
“Makes sense,” replied another. “Good spot to put a bomb.”
Sipos then walks toward a police cruiser to don his protective gear, Fox reported.
“We decided to get our heavy plates on and prepare for whatever might come after the countdown, and that point I made it back to Church Street and rounded the corner to First Avenue where my car was parked,” he said Sunday. “I actually popped my trunk to get a piece of equipment out, and I felt a push and was thrown into the trunk a little bit and turned around to see a very orange sky and a lot of smoke.”
He rushes to the blast zone where debris is littered on the street and officers begin directing people to a safe distance away.
“Where’s your car? Get in your car,” one officer says.
In the background the RV is engulfed in flames as the sound of car horns can and sirens can be heard in the distance.
“We’re hearing secondaries. It could be ammunition inside the vehicle,” one officer is heard saying over the radio. “Do not get in the open. Do not get out in the open on Second Avenue.”
Back at his police unit, Sipos instructs another group of onlookers to get away from the scene.
“Hey ya’ll got to go that way,” he says. “Dude trust me go that way, please.”
Police Chief John Drake credited the officers’ actions with saving many lives as only three people were injured.
“We’d be talking not about the debris that we have here but also maybe potential people,” he said the day of the attack, according to Fox.
The vehicle’s owner, Anthony Quinn Warner, 63, died in the explosion, authorities said. Investigators are still trying to determine a motive for the attack.