Police Arrest Waffle House Shooting Suspect, Ending Manhunt
Travis Reinking, the 29-year-old suspected of killing four people Sunday in a shooting at a Waffle House in Nashville, Tennessee, is in police custody.
Reinking was arrested Monday about a mile and a half from the Waffle House, the Metro Nashville Police Department announced in a tweet, ending a manhunt that began shortly after the shooting early Sunday. The suspect was taken to a hospital to be checked for injuries and will be transferred to a Nashville jail to be booked, a police spokesman said Monday at a press conference.
Police responded to a tip from a Nashville resident who believed they saw Reinking in a wooded area, wearing a maroon shirt and dark jeans with a backpack. Detectives searched the area and were able to detain Reinking without engaging fire, Lt. Carlos Lara of the Metro Nashville Police said.
“Once he was in custody, detectives went and cut off the backpack off of him, because he was in cuffs,” Lara told reporters Monday. “When they looked into the backpack, they saw a silver Kimber semiautomatic weapon with .45-caliber ammunition, a flashlight, and a holster on his person.”
Reinking, who is from Morton, Illinois, is suspected of opening fire in the Waffle House with an AR-15. He faces multiple counts of criminal homicide.
Police say Reinking arrived at the restaurant at 3:19 a.m. on Sunday with the rifle and at least two magazines of ammunition, wearing only a green jacket. James Shaw Jr., a 29-year-old diner, has been hailed as a hero for tackling and disarming the shooter.
“I was just trying to get myself out. I saw the opportunity and pretty much took it,” Shaw, who suffered a minor gunshot wound to his arm, told The Tennessean.
The gunman took the jacket off after the shooting, and fled the scene on foot in the nude.
Police have identified the four people killed as Taurean Sanderlin, 29; Joe Perez, 20; Akilah DaSilva, 23; and DeEbony Groves, 21. Two others, Shanita Waggoner, 21, and Sharita Henderson, 24, were wounded in the incident.
Nashville police Chief Steve Anderson said authorities suspect Reinking has mental health issues. Reinking was arrested last June after he allegedly tried to cross a security barrier near the White House in order to meet President Donald Trump, authorities say. Following that incident, officials forced Reinking to surrender his firearms and turned the weapons over to his father. However, Reinking’s father gave the guns back to him, officials said.
A spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said during Monday’s press conference that Reinking’s father could potentially face charges if he is found to have violated federal law by returning the weapons to Reinking.
In 2016, Illinois police officers were called to a CVS parking lot where Reinking was threatening to kill himself, per police reports obtained by ABC 7 Chicago and WKRN.
During the encounter, deputies said, Reinking claimed the singer Taylor Swift had been stalking and harassing him. He said he believed Swift had hacked his phone and Netflix account, and that she’d asked him to meet at a Dairy Queen, according to ABC 7.
Reinking moved to the Nashville area in fall 2017, according to CNN. A motive for Sunday’s shooting is not yet known.