Metropolitan Nashville Police have identified the six officers who helped evacuate a downtown area of the city minutes before a recreational vehicle exploded on Christmas morning.
According to police, the six officers responded to a report of shots fired at approximately 5:30 a.m. on 2nd Avenue. When officers arrived, they found an RV parked in front of an AT&T building there. Shortly after, they heard a warning broadcast from the vehicle warning of an imminent explosion, counting down from 15 minutes.
"Instead of taking it as just maybe a threat and calling in and getting resources, they immediately began knocking on doors, they coordinated their resources to get everyone evacuated and out," Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake told reporters on Saturday during a press conference.
The explosion even knocked one of the officers to the ground.
"I watched a short video of an officer that had just moved out of the video frame when the explosion occurred, had knocked him to the ground," Drake told reporters on Saturday. "So had they not done that, we would be talking about people as well, with the destruction that we had. So they're just heroic efforts and saving lives."
Drake explained the officers intended to "get as many people out" safely and to "get them somewhere safe and provide them with services so they're not displaced as much."
When asked if he had spoken to the officers, he said, "I've talked to each one of them at the scene, thanked them for their efforts. They didn't want the thanks, they just felt like it was their jobs and their honor to serve our city."
A release provided by the department Friday said the six officers "who worked to evacuate persons on 2nd Avenue early today and saved lives in the process" were:
Officer Brenna Hosey, who has been with the department for four years
Officer James Luellen, who has been with the department for three years
Officer Michael Sipos, who has been with the department for 16 months
Officer Amanda Topping, who has been with the department for 21 months
Officer James Wells, who has been with the department for 21 months
Sergeant Timothy Miller, who has been with the department for 11 years
During the press conference Saturday afternoon, U.S. Attorney Don Cochran said there were more than 500 leads but as of that time, there were no suspects being publicly named in the investigation.
When asked what his personal response was to officers' actions, Drake responded, "It's a proud moment when we have our law enforcement professionals that are selfless like that.
"They're not concerned about their own safety but the safety of our city. We love our city. We are invested in it. It just made me feel good to know that they made the right decision in saving lives and didn't worry about themselves as much. It felt really good."