NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Federal agents quickly cleared a Kentucky man of any involvement in the downtown Nashville bombing, but charged him after he used social media to threaten the life of the investigator who interviewed him, according to newly released court documents.
Hours after a man detonated a bomb inside of an RV parked outside of the AT&T building near Second Avenue North and Commerce Street on Christmas morning, a criminal complaint states the FBI received a tip regarding “concerning statements” that James Keith Ray made toward AT&T. The tip indicated that Ray was ranting in mid-December that “AT&T was abusing their power and how [AT&T’s] policies were criminal.”
On the evening of Dec. 25, the complaint reveals law enforcement officers, including FBI Special Agent James M. Brown, located and interviewed Ray at the home he shares with his parents in Henderson, Kentucky. During the interview, the FBI ruled Ray out as having any involvement in the Nashville bombing.
Investigators later learned Ray had recorded the interview with Agent Brown and posted it on his YouTube channel, according to agents.
The criminal complaint alleges Ray posted “threatening statements directed toward Special Agent Brown” in a series of tweets on Jan. 5. The tweets included “Agent Brown if you ever step on this property while I’m here you are a dead man do you hear me there is no amount of armor that will protect you.”
Based on the evidence, a U.S. magistrate judge in the Western District of Kentucky determined there was probable cause to charge Ray with interstate transmission of a threat to injure the person of another. He later ruled Ray would remain in custody pending future court proceedings in the case.
Investigators said Ray had previously been interviewed by the FBI in 2018 after sending an e-mail to a Nashville television station that expressed frustation over alleged harrassment by multiple people and law enforcement agencies in Kentucky. He reportedly referenced the shooting at the Capitol Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland and stated members of the media would soon “be wearing body armor.”
During a previous interview with FBI agents, court documents allege Ray’s parents, who he lives with, stated they were “afraid of Ray’ and “locked their bedroom door at night.”
The FBI has since identified Anthony Warner, an Antioch man, as the sole person responsible for the downtown Nashville bombing that caused extensive damage to more than 40 businesses and injured several people. Agents said Warner was inside of the RV when it exploded and did not survive.