Gun violence in the US

Naked gunman suspected of killing four at Nashville Waffle House in police custody 

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 April, 2018, 10:48pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 April, 2018, 7:11am

The suspect in the fatal shooting of four people at a Waffle House restaurant in Nashville was taken into police custody on Monday, ending a massive manhunt, authorities said. 

Travis Reinking, 29, is suspected of opening fire at a 24-hour restaurant early Sunday morning. He was believed to have been hiding in a wooded area near the restaurant and his apartment.

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Authorities had mounted a massive manhunt for 29-year-old Travis Reinking, after the Sunday morning attacks. They announced the arrest Monday afternoon on Twitter, but did not immediately give details.

More than 100 Nashville police officers had been going door-to-door and searching wooded areas, joined by dozens of agents with the FBI, the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol. 

Police said he had stolen a BMW days before the attack. The car was quickly recovered, but authorities did not immediately link it to Reinking.

He previously stormed into the Waffle House wearing nothing but a green jacket, wielding an AR-15-style rifle, at about 3.25am local time.

Reinking, described as a white man with brown hair, opened fire with an AR-15 in the Waffle House parking lot and then stormed the restaurant shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday, police say. Four people were killed and four others were injured before a quick-thinking customer wrestled the assault weapon away, preventing more bloodshed. Reinking then stripped off completely and escaped, police said. 

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Reinking killed four people during the melee, which was finally stopped when customer James Shaw Jnr charged at the gunman as he went to reload, officials said.

“I just saw my opportunity and attacked,” Shaw said on Monday morning on NBC News’ Today. “I did learn that he did actually have other magazines in his gun, and he could’ve reloaded. I’m glad I acted.”

Waffle House worker Taurean Sanderlin, 29, and Joe Perez, 20, were killed outside, while Akilah Dasilva, 23, and DeEbony Groves, 21, were fatally shot when Reinking sprayed inside the restaurant according to police.

Reinking fled the Waffle House, ditching the green jacket in the process, and was reported near his flat complex later that morning.

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Two women – 24-year-old Sharita Henderson and 21-year-old Shanita Waggoner – were wounded in the attack and are currently in stable condition at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre, a CNN reporter tweeted.

Police say about 20 people were in the Waffle House at the time of the shootings. They included people of different races and ethnicities, but the four people killed were minorities – three black and one Hispanic. 

It’s not clear why Reinking opened fire on restaurant patrons, though he may have “mental issues,” Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson said earlier.

Reinking had run-ins with the police back in Illinois, and one with the Secret Service in July 2017 when he tried to get through a White House barrier, officials said.

He previously believed Taylor Swift was stalking him in 2016 while he was in Illinois, according to an arrest report in his native Tazewell County.

Reinking told police he was convinced the singer was trying to breach his Netflix account and phone.