6 Police Officers Rushed to Evacuate Residents in Moments Before Nashville Christmas Bombing
"They are heroes."
Responding to a call of shots fired in the early hours of Christmas morning, Officers Tyler Luellen and Brenna Hosey were already on Second Avenue North in Nashville when a computerized message began playing from a white RV.
"This vehicle will explode in 15 minutes,” the countdown began.
Luellen and Hosey were soon joined by four other members of the Metro Nashville Police Department: Officer Amanda Topping, Officer James Wells, Officer Michael Sipos, and Sargent Timothy Miller. The six of them sprang into action, going door-to-door to evacuate residents.
Thanks to their quick work and bravery, only three people were injured when, minutes later, the bomb ripped through the downtown neighborhood.
"Officers immediately began knocking on doors and evacuating residents here, not knowing if the bomb was going to detonate immediately or if it was going to go off in the time that it was stated," Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake said in a press conference Sunday.
WATCH: This Moving Photo Shows Nashville Police Officer and Protester Praying Together
Nashville Mayor John Cooper joined the conference to praise the responding officers, saying they "took swift action and directed people away from danger to save lives, even at the time that their own lives were imperiled."
"They are heroes. And I am grateful for them and all of Nashville's first responders," Cooper said.
The force of the explosion reportedly knocked down one officer and caused hearing loss in another. Fortunately, no officers suffered serious injuries.
Officer Wells, who has been with the department for just shy of two years, told CNN that he feels lucky to be alive. He also feels a newfound bond to his colleagues.
"The love for them is even bigger now," Wells said of his fellow officers. "Christmas will never be the same for any of us."