Investigation underway into attempted fire bombing at suspected - WSMV News 4

Investigation underway into attempted fire bombing at suspected whistleblower’s home

Posted: Updated: Dec 19, 2016 07:17 PM

Just an hour after a Channel 4 I-Team investigation aired in February, a member of the Tennessee National Guard said a makeshift Molotov cocktail was thrown at his house.

The guardsman told police he was suspected by his co-workers for being a whistleblower.

The Channel 4 I-Team is not identifying the guardsman or reporting where the incident happened, because the man is in fear for his family’s safety.

A spokesman for the state fire marshal’s office could not comment because it was an active, open investigation.

911 recordings show the man called immediately after the device was thrown, telling dispatchers, “Somebody just tried to throw some gasoline on my door.”

The incident happened one hour after an I-Team investigation aired exposing how a recruiter failed a sobriety test while driving around a recruiter and a recruit.

Our investigation featured two whistleblowers frustrated with how the men involved were later promoted through the Tennessee National Guard.

After our story aired, the guardsman told police that he heard something hit his door.

“I was watching TV and I heard a loud thump at my door. And when I came out, the jar is laying right here, it didn't break,” the guardsman said in the 911 call.

According to the officer who responded, he could “smell a strong odor of accelerant,” associating the smell with gasoline.

The officer found a mason jar with gasoline inside and a hold punched out and wrote in the report, “Due to my training and experience, I believe the mason jar was fashion as a Molotov cocktail.

The guardsman did tell police that Channel 4 had aired stories regarding misconduct at his work and that several of his co-workers believed he was one of the whistleblowers.

The officer then wrote that he spoke with the state bomb and arson team and that this was possibly retaliation for the whistleblower stories.

Detectives later examined the area and found what they thought to be human footprints, but were unable to find a possible ignition source.

The I-Team asked Major General Terry Haston about the incident following his budget hearing last month.

“Do you have any comment at all about a gentlemen the guard suspects may have been a whistle blower has a jar of gas thrown at his house?” asked chief investigative reporter Jeremy Finley.

“No, I don't. You need to go talk to the local law enforcement about that because I don't know anything about it,” Haston said.

“There's concern about retaliation about that - are you concerned about that?” Finley asked.

“Not at all,” Haston said.

Randy Harris, spokesman for the Tennessee National Guard, said they would neither confirm nor deny that they are investigating.

The guardsman said he did not want to comment for our story because he fears for the safety of his family.

An ATF spokesman said their agents were called in, but that the case is now with the state fire marshal’s office. 

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