In August 2019, Ms. Perry told the police that she believed Mr. Warner was building bombs in the R.V. parked outside his house on Bakertown Lane, and Mr. Throckmorton told the police that Mr. Warner was capable of building explosives. Officers went to his home but neither the Nashville police nor the F.B.I. pursued an investigation. A police and municipal review committee is now scrutinizing why.
Ms. Perry, through lawyers, declined to comment.
Ms. Deck, 44, first met Mr. Warner several months later, when he came into the South Nashville Waffle House where she worked. “The first time I met him, I just thought his cornbread wasn’t really done in the middle and he was off a little bit,” she said.
She described two distinct sides to him.
There was the man who spent countless hours glued to his computer, steeping himself in eccentric plots.
But there was also the man who fixed the windshield wipers on her Nissan pickup, repaired her computer, paid the tab for dozens of other diners at the Waffle House and took her Yorkie, Bubba, for walks in the park.
But when Ms. Deck began frequenting Mr. Warner’s two-bedroom duplex in the Antioch area of Nashville, he told her that no one had visited for 20 years. His distrust of the government dated to roughly the same period, as he subscribed to the 9/11 conspiracy theory that it was an inside job rather than an Al Qaeda terrorist attack.
It seemed to Ms. Deck he started on the path that led him to downtown Nashville at least 20 years ago. “He kept saying, ‘9/11 is what did it for me’,” she said.
Mr. Warner grew up in Nashville, attending local Catholic schools. He served two years in the Navy, in the mid-1970s. He never mentioned his family except for a dead brother, Ms. Deck said. His mother and sister declined to be interviewed.