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Police: Man accused of killing 4 at Waffle House arrested near his apartment

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published April 23, 2018 at 10:44 a.m. Updated April 23, 2018 at 3:26 p.m.

in-this-photo-released-by-the-metro-nashville-police-department-travis-reinking-sits-in-a-police-car-after-being-arrested-in-nashville-tenn-on-monday-april-23-2018

In this photo released by the Metro Nashville Police Department, Travis Reinking sits in a police car after being arrested in Nashville, Tenn., on Monday, April 23, 2018.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The gunman suspected of opening fire at a Waffle House restaurant in the middle of the night was arrested not far from his apartment Monday after hiding from police for more than a day after the attack that killed four people, authorities said.

Authorities had mounted a large manhunt for 29-year-old Travis Reinking after the Sunday morning shooting in which a gunman clad only in a jacket used an AR-15 rifle to kill four and injure others.

Metropolitan Nashville Police announced Monday on Twitter that Reinking was taken into custody not far from his apartment.

A detective from the department's specialized investigations division's narcotics unit spotted Reinking in a wood area near a construction site, Lt. Carlos Lara told news reporters.

He said construction workers told officers a person matching the suspect's description walked through the area and into woods. When confronted, the suspect lay down on the ground, and officers cuffed him, Lara said.

He said Reinking carried a black backpack that held a silver semi-automatic weapon and .45-caliber ammunition. Detectives cut the backpack off of the suspect, he said.

Police spokesman Don Aaron said Reinking requested a lawyer, was taken to a hospital and would later be booked on four counts of criminal homicide.

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 disappeared, police said.

Police say about 20 people were in the Waffle House at the time of the shootings

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.

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

Meanwhile, authorities in Illinois shared past reports suggesting multiple red flags about a disturbed young man with paranoid delusions.

In May 2016, Reinking told deputies from Tazewell County, Ill., that music superstar Taylor Swift was stalking him and hacking his phon, and that his family was also involved, according to a report released Sunday.

Reinking agreed to go to a nearby hospital for an evaluation after repeatedly resisting the request, the sheriff's report said.

Another sheriff's report said Reinking barged into a community pool in Tremont, Ill., last June, and jumped into the water wearing a pink woman's coat over his underwear. Investigators believed he had an AR-15 rifle in his car trunk, but it was never displayed. No charges were filed.

Last July, Reinking was arrested by the U.S. Secret Service after he entered a restricted area near the White House and refused to leave, saying he wanted to meet President Donald Trump. Reinking was not armed at the time, but at the FBI's request, state police in Illinois revoked his state firearms card and seized four guns from him, authorities said.

The AR-15 used in the shootings was among the firearms seized.

In August, Reinking told police he wanted to file a report about 20 to 30 people tapping into his computer and phone and people "barking like dogs" outside his residence, according to a report.

"There's certainly evidence that there's some sort of mental health issues involved," Tazewell County Sheriff Robert Huston said. But he said deputies returned the guns to Reinking's father on the promise that he would "keep the weapons secure and out of the possession of Travis."

Reinking's father "has now acknowledged giving them back" to his son, Aaron said. A federal official says the father could face charges for returning guns.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives special Agent Marcus Watson said at a news conference Monday that Jeffrey Reinking's act of returning the guns to his son is "potentially a violation of federal law."

Phone calls to a number listed for the father, Jeffrey Reinking, went unanswered.

It is not clear why Reinking moved recently from Morton, Illinois, and if it had anything to do with being near Swift, who has a home in Nashville. Police say he worked in construction for a while.

Police say Reinking drove into the Waffle House parking lot in his gold Chevy Silverado pickup early Sunday and sat there for about four minutes before opening fire outside the restaurant.

The victims fatally shot in the parking have been identified as Taurean Sanderlin, 29, of Goodlettsville and Joe Perez, 20, of Nashville. Sanderlin was an employee at the restaurant.

One of the fatally wounded inside was DeEbony Groves, a 21-year student at Nashville's Belmont University. She was remembered as an exceptional student who made the Dean's list, and a tenacious basketball player.

Akilah Dasilva was also killed inside the restaurant. The 23-year-old from Antioch was a rap artist and music video producer.

He was at the restaurant with his girlfriend, 21-year-old Tia Waggoner, the paper reported. Waggoner was wounded and is being treated at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dasilva's family said she underwent surgery and doctors were trying to save her leg.

Police say Sharita Henderson, 24, of Antioch was wounded and is being treated at VUMC.

Also wounded was James Shaw Jr., a 29-year-old restaurant patron who burned his hand grabbing the hot muzzle of the assault weapon as he wrestled the gun away. A Nashville native who works as a wireless technician for AT&T, Shaw said he was no hero — despite being hailed as one by Nashville Mayor David Briley.

Shaw said he pounced on the suspect out of self-preservation, after making up his mind that "he was going to have to work to kill me."

Check back with Arkansas Online for updates on this developing story and read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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Comments on: Police: Man accused of killing 4 at Waffle House arrested near his apartment

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ARMNAR says... April 23, 2018 at 10:54 a.m.

And now we're learning that he's a right-wing nutjob.

Homegrown terrorist.

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HarleyOwner says... April 23, 2018 at 11:40 a.m.

He's running around naked and they say "he may have mental issues"? Well, duh, it 's either that or drugs.

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RBear says... April 23, 2018 at 12:15 p.m.

Yes Armnar, it appears Reinking aligned himself with a group that typically espouses alt-right extremist views. In some ways, they could be considered an American ISIS.

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Arkie2017 says... April 23, 2018 at 12:57 p.m.

I notice the absence of the race of the victims and the hero, which were all black while the shooter was white so I have no problem with discerning his reason for this terrorist attack and it was a terrorist attack. Our media has no qualms whatsoever calling out any act of violence committed by blacks or those of Middle Eastern descent as acts of terrorism yet hesitates calling out acts by white supremacists as the same. The hero was an unarmed black man so again it did not require a "good guy with a gun" to stop the bad guy just as it's rarely been a "good guy (or gal) with a gun" who stops the bad guys. Unarmed teachers or janitors have taken down school shooters, not armed security guards who generally run the other way. Democrat-Gazette needs to correct this obvious omission of facts.

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DoubleBlind says... April 23, 2018 at 1:23 p.m.

I’m having a really difficult time understanding why Reinking’s dad would return the guns to him knowing he was clearly disturbed. Surely that is a crime. He owns a crane company so he must be worth a little money. I hope the victims’ families go after him for everything he ever thought of having. And that he then goes to prison himself - along with his son in the event he survives the massive manhunt.

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LRDawg says... April 23, 2018 at 1:25 p.m.

Arkie hit the nail on the head. #Facts

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Sandieshops10 says... April 23, 2018 at 1:45 p.m.

his father must be held accountable. People are so worried their guns are going to be taken away from them but this guy went over white house fence, said TS was stalking him, found to have mental problems and still allowed to keep guns through his father. I bet he still won't get the mental health help he needs-oh right, we get to pay for his mental health now for the rest of his life in prison....

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Popsmith says... April 23, 2018 at 1:46 p.m.

Need to check your facts. The AR-16 does not qualify as an assault rifle. The A in AR is for ArmeLite. The AR-15 is the basis for the M-16, which is an assault rife (can be fired fully automatic)
Give credit where credit is due: blame the owner of the finger that pulled the trigger, not the car you drive that can run over people.

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RBear says... April 23, 2018 at 2:32 p.m.

Popsmith it is an assault style weapon as defined by the AWB of 1994. Once again, a gun nut gets it wrong. Without the weapon, the damage could not be done. Give credit to the weapon for enabling the person to easily take the lives of others.

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Packman says... April 23, 2018 at 2:39 p.m.

Hey PopSmith - An AR-15 is a version of a sporting rifle with the EXACT same firing speed and action as my old squirrel rifle. Gun grabbers know a semi-automatic fire isn't an assault weapon, they just use that term to incite useful idiots.
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Agree with Sandieshops10. The dad must be held accountable in both criminal and civil courts as he had every reasonable expectation his son was consumed with evil and would sooner or later commit an evil act.
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Meantime, an "assault" van was just used to kill multiple people in Toronto. The scene could have easily been replicated by the lunatic Reinking in Nashville had he not somehow acquired hid dad's sporting rifle. Or, as with guns according to bedwetting libs, did the van drive itself?
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