Law enforcement investigators held a press conference Tuesday at the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office to give updates on Monday night’s explosion at a home on Vance Lane just outside the Lebanon city limits.
Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan said the investigation was in the preliminary stages and only limited information was known or could be given. He said the investigation was a joint effort by several state, local and federal agencies, including the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Nashville division, the state fire marshal’s office, the Wilson County Emergency Management Agency, Lebanon Public Safety, the FBI and the 15th district attorney’s office.
Bryan said officers responded to the home at 580 Vance Lane on at about 5 p.m. to an apparent explosion from a delivered package. He said officers and WEMA personnel rendered medical attention.
Bryan said Jon Setzer, 74, was found dead at the scene, and Marion Setzer, 72, was taken via LifeFlight helicopter to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Marion Setzer remained in the hospital in critical condition, according to the latest information given to Bryan.
Bryan said investigators asked the general public to contact local law enforcement if anyone receives any type of suspicious packages with suspicious circumstances.
Bryan said an $8,000 reward is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals responsible for this crime.
TBI Director Mark Gwyn echoed Bryan stating the investigation was ongoing, and all agencies were present on the scene since late Monday afternoon.
“We’ll be running leads and processing the crime scene, collecting any evidence available, and the TBI crime lab will be analyzing the evidence as it’s collected,” Gwyn said. “Most of all, we’ll be here night and day to try to come to a resolution of this issue as quickest we can.”
Gwyn said investigators hope for help from the public. Anyone with information relevant to the investigation should call 800-TBI-FIND or 800-824-3463.
ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jack Webb, too, thanked the collaborating agencies partnered in the investigation and also encouraged the public to come forward with information.
“Our No. 1 focus here is public safety,” Webb said.
The State Fire Marshal’s Bomb and Arson section Director Dewey Woody Jr. said the involved agencies would be putting the best assets each had available together in order to look at all evidence found and hopefully come to a quick conclusion of what occurred.
“Anytime we have an incident of this nature we come to support our state, local and federal colleagues and that’s what we intend to do,” said Rich Campbell with the FBI.
Officials were then met with questions regarding the case and investigation including specifics on how the package was delivered, whether it was brought by a carrier and which, and if the package was timed or detonated, among others.
Webb said the information was limited and reiterated the same response to most questions.
“This is currently an ongoing investigation, so we’re all working together in a collaborative partnership to try to find suspects in the best way we can,” Webb said. “At this time, I’d like to reiterate we’re all working together to develop leads we have and to come to a conclusion to try to find the suspects who caused this. Rest assured we are working everything to the best of our abilities with all agents involved.”
Bryan also said to remember they were still in the preliminary stages of the case and officials were still on the scene and investigating and more information would be made available as it was known.
“Anytime you have an explosion, yes, it’s a bizarre case and, like they said, we’re trying to get the investigation completed as far as the crime scene and different things like that before we’re able to release any information,” Bryan said.
Bryan said officials couldn’t say whether the package was a specific threat or if the victims were definitely the ones the package was meant for.
“We don’t know that, we’re just putting out the public safety announcement to say if anyone sees any type of specific package they’re not aware of to please contact their local jurisdiction,” Bryan said. “That [information] would be a part of the investigation, we can say that the property and residence is the focus of our investigation at this time.”
When asked if previous reports believing the explosion to be a targeted attack were accurate, Bryan said they didn’t know if it was a targeted attack.
“We’re directing the investigation to that residence and that piece of property and nowhere else at this time,” Bryan said.
Bryan also said other information such as property ownership, relationships and previous service calls to the home were not available at this time.
As far as the ongoing investigation, Gwyn explained what officials were doing in order to help resolve the investigation.
“Anytime you have an ongoing investigation crime scene, the first rule of thumb is to secure property and follow leads that come from the crime scene and develop new ones,” Gwyn said. “That’s what we’re doing, we’re going to follow leads and work a very thorough crime scene and go through every nook and cranny to make sure everything is collected and go from there.”
When asked if he believed there was a possibility for a bomber out there to strike again or whether the target was specific, Gwyn said he thought it was too early to guess.
“It’s too early in this investigation to speculate,” Gwyn said. “We’re conducting and collecting a very thorough and complete investigation and asking the public to be vigil, if you see something that you do not recognize or something that should not be on your property or you weren’t expecting to be delivered, you should contact local law enforcement, but way too early for us to start speculating.”
Woody said what officials were trying to elude to was that “public safety is paramount.”
“We’re not saying this is isolated but we’re not also wanting the public to panic,” Woody said. “If you receive something suspicious or not expected, make those phone calls to make sure there’s no issue. We’re looking at public safety as paramount for everybody.”
Officials also said they could not comment on a possible note that came along with the package.