NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Reuters) - Nashville
police on Monday arrested the suspect in the
weekend killing of four people at a Waffle
House restaurant, ending a manhunt that
began when the gunman ran naked from the
scene into nearby woods, authorities said.
Photos posted online by police showed
Travis Reinking, a 29-year-old construction
worker suspected of opening fire at the
restaurant early Sunday, in the back of a
police car. Looking disheveled, he was
wearing a torn red shirt and dirty blue
jeans, and had scratches on his shoulder.
Metropolitan Nashville police Lieutenant
Carlos Lara said that as soon as a detective
saw Reinking and ordered him to get on the
ground, the suspect cooperated. “He did not
try to run,” Lara told reporters in a news
conference near the Waffle House.
The arrest ended a protracted search for
the gunman, a man with a history of bizarre
behavior who evaded capture for more than 30
hours after the shooting.
Police said they did not know what the
gunman’s motive was in opening fire at the
24-hour chain restaurant. In addition to the
four deaths, two people were injured in the
“We need to move on as a community and do
what we can to curb this violence,”
Nashville Mayor David Briley told reporters.
Reinking, who had a handgun and
ammunition in his backpack when he was
arrested about two miles (3 km) from the
Waffle House, immediately requested a lawyer
and refused to answer questions, police
said. He will be taken to a hospital for a
checkup before being booked.
The suspect, who was originally from
Illinois before moving to Nashville, will be
booked on four counts of criminal homicide,
police spokesman Don Aaron said.
Reinking had multiple encounters with law
enforcement in recent years, including an
episode in Washington in July 2017 where he
was arrested for trying to get into the
White House, according to police records.
Afterwards, Illinois authorities revoked
his license to carry concealed weapons, but
his father broke a promise to police and
gave the suspect access to guns, authorities
Travis Reinking, the suspect in a Waffle
House shooting in Nashville, is under
arrest by Metro Nashville Police
Department in a wooded area in Antioch,
Tennessee, U.S., April 23, 2018.
Courtesy Metro Nashville Police
Department/Handout via REUTERS
The killings in Tennessee’s capital were
the latest in a string of high-profile U.S.
mass shootings in which a gunman used an
AR-15 rifle. A nationwide debate on gun
control has intensified since Feb. 14, when
a former student killed 17 people with an
AR-15 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High
School in Parkland, Florida.
In Reinking’s hometown in Tazewell
County, Illinois, police released incident
reports about Reinking from the last couple
of years. They showed he had multiple
encounters with law enforcement about his
delusions that people, including singer
Taylor Swift, were following him.
During the shootings, the suspect was
wearing only a green jacket that he shed
before leaving on foot, police said. That
jacket contained two clips of ammunition for
the assault-style rifle used in the
shootings, police and school officials said.
After Reinking’s gun license was revoked,
his father told police he would lock up his
son’s guns, which they said included the
AR-15 rifle used in the Waffle House
shooting. But the father relented and
returned the weapons to his son, Nashville
police said on Sunday.
Marcus Watson, an agent with the federal
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives, said Reinking’s father Jeffrey
could face federal charges if he knowingly
transferred weapons to a person who was
prohibited from owning them.
Reinking is accused of shooting two
people to death outside the restaurant
around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday, and killing two
inside. The suspect fled after a 29-year-old
diner, James Shaw Jr., wrestled the rifle
Shaw, who was grazed by a bullet during
the attack, was praised by authorities for
his courage, but on Sunday he denied he was
a hero. “I just wanted to live,” he said.
David Hogg, a Marjory Stoneman student
and prominent leader in a student movement
for gun control that has emerged from the
Parkland, Florida, attack, used Shaw’s
example to taunt the National Rifle
Association, which lobbies for gun rights,
“So only a good guy with a gun can stop a
bad guy with a gun?” Hogg wrote in a message
directed at the NRA.
An NRA representative could not
immediately be reached to comment.