Four people died early Sunday when a half-naked man opened fire at a Waffle House just south of Nashville.
Local law enforcement said 29-year-old Travis Reinking, armed with an AR-15 and two magazines, stormed the restaurant just before 3:30 a.m., murdering two people in the parking lot and shooting six more inside. He fled after a scuffle with a customer left him unarmed.
This is a very sad day for the Waffle House family. We ask for everyone to keep the victims and their families in their thoughts and prayers.
Those dead include Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29; Joe R. Perez, 20; Deebony Groves, 21 and Akilah Dasivla, 23. Two other women — 21-year-old Shanita Waggoner and 24-year-old Sharita Henderson — were taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for gunshot wounds, according to law enforcement.
Reinking, a construction worker, moved to Nashville in the fall of 2017, just a few months after the Secret Service detained him for trespassing near the White House. Investigators in Tazewell County, Illinois subsequently revoked Reinking’s state firearms license and seized four guns, including the AR-15 used in Sunday’s attack.
Reinking’s father admitted returning the guns to his son. Two are still missing, according to Nashville Police Chief Steven Anderson. He didn’t describe a motive, but suggested the gunman may have “mental issues.” He remains at large as of Sunday night.
Meanwhile, the restaurant customer who disarmed Reinking during the attack is being hailed a hero. James Shaw, Jr., 29, said he heard a pause in gunfire long enough to smash a door into Reinking’s face, grabbing the rifle and tossing it over the counter.
“He was kind of cussing while we were wrestling around. When I finally got the gun he was cussing like I was in the wrong,” Shaw said. “It wasn’t any kind of talking between us; I just knew I just had to get that away from him … I grabbed it from him and threw it over the countertop and I just took him with me out the entrance.”
Shaw then wrestled Reinking out into the parking lot, forcing the gunman to strip off his jacket and flee. Shaw told the Associated Press he attacked Reinking for “selfish reasons” and doesn’t consider himself a hero.
“I didn’t really fight that man to save everyone else. That may not be a popular thing,” he said. “I took the gun so I could get myself out.”