Officer James Wells helped evacuate people to save lives before the massive bomb exploded in Downtown Nashville.
Officer Wells noted he began to walk towards the RV and Wells stated ‘This is my truth, I literally heard God tell me to turn around, I’m a spiritual person and so truly believe I am lead by that voice when I do this job.’
Officer Wells said, “Shortly after shots fired call came out, Officer Llewellyn came over the radio and said ‘I need everybody here immediately’ And just by the tone of his voice, you know, we knew it was serious and, you know, he said it was possible bomb situation and that Sargent Miller was aware at the time I was sitting right next to Officer Topping. So we we got over there as quick as we could, not knowing that the RV was the vehicle in question at the time, we actually put it right in front of it. So this is right across the street, we pulled up and we heard the announcement Topping was like, ‘is that is that the vehicle in question?’ And whoever said yes, we immediately, we hopped in our cars and back out.”
Officer Wells continued, “And then we started setting up the perimeter to start shutting down Commerce and Broadway to make sure nobody could come in or out. And then Llewellyn called for more people to come help evacuate the building, which I did at that point when I heard, you know, you have 14 minutes to evacuate the area. And at that point, Is when I started to prepare my mind for secondary things to happen, I actually told everybody when we come out to make sure we look at the high ground and the parking garage just in case.”
After the countdown from the RV continued Officer Wells said, “And I felt like maybe an active shooter might have followed that just because it felt at that moment it felt real and it felt like there was going to be some secondary activity. So every time we came out of the building, we made sure that we were looking around and checking high areas and making sure nobody was peeking around and looking at us. So we continue to go door to door trying to get calls from dispatch to get in. We get down to Second and Commerce. And that’s when we heard the three minutes as we coming out of the building. And at that point, I told them I was going to go back to my car and get my heavy plates, just mentally getting prepared for whatever was about to happen.”
Just moments before the blast, Officer Wells breaks his truth, “And as I’m getting ready to walk toward them, walking back toward the RV and this might not be politically correct, but this is my truth. And I literally hear God told me to turn around and go check on Topping, who was by herself down on Broadway and…As I turn around, for me, it felt like I only took three steps and then the music stopped and as I’m walking back toward Topping and now I just see orange, and then I hear a loud boom. And as I’m stumbling because it rock me, that hard starts stumbling. I just tell myself to stay on your feet, stay alive, and I just take out in the full out sprint and I’m running toward Topping to make sure she’s OK. And we kind of meet the middle and we just grab each other checking and tell them to her, get her gun out, because like I said, I felt like that was going to be some it just just had a feeling that, you know, it’s just weird, you know, just felt like something out of a movie.”
Officer Wells continued after the blast occurred, “And so we’re checking on each other. And she’s asking me. She’s telling me they trying to reach me on the radio, I couldn’t hear. So, I just lost temporary hearing in my left ear. So she yelling, I was saying what? And a couple of explicits telling her I couldn’t hear and get me to the paramedics and call my wife immediately, let her know just before anything got out to let her know I was ok. And while I was in the ambulance, they were trying to get me to go to hospital. And I just didn’t want to be by myself at that moment. I didn’t want to leave them. And then I heard that there were three people that were injured. So I told the paramedics to take care of them. And I was like, I got per policy. I got ten days to get checked out. So it’s like, y’all go check, y’all go check on them, go check on the civilians. And then I immediately went to go find Topping, just kept asking where Topping was and we found her and that was my part in it.”