Nashville Waffle House shooting
|Nashville Waffle House shooting|
|Part of mass shootings in the United States|
3571 Murfreesboro Pike, Antioch, Nashville, Tennessee
|Date||April 22, 2018 |
3:25 a.m. (CDT)
|Weapon||AR-15 style rifle (Bushmaster XM-15)|
|Injured||4 (2 by gunfire)|
|Defenders||James Shaw Jr.|
On April 22, 2018, a mass shooting occurred at a Waffle House restaurant in the Antioch neighborhood of Nashville, Tennessee, United States. Four victims were killed and two suffered gunshot wounds. Two others were injured by broken glass. The shooter, armed with a semi-automatic rifle, was rushed by an unarmed customer, James Shaw Jr., who wrestled the weapon away, interrupting the shooting spree. The suspect was captured on April 23, ending a 34-hour manhunt.
The gunman was partially naked when the shooting occurred, wearing only a green jacket. After sitting in a pickup truck in the parking lot for approximately four minutes, he came out holding an AR-15-style rifle and fatally shot two people outside the Waffle House. He went inside the restaurant and continued to fire, killing a third person and fatally injuring a fourth, who died at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, with four others treated for related injuries. One customer, 29-year-old James Shaw Jr., who suffered a bullet graze wound, hid near the restaurant's bathrooms, rushed the shooter, and wrestled the rifle away. The gunman fled on foot, leaving behind his rifle and ammunition.
Reinking was from Morton, Illinois. He had a history of erratic conduct and delusions. In May 2016, sheriff's deputies in Tazewell County responded to a call from Reinking's parents in the parking lot of a drugstore, where a paramedic said Reinking had delusions that Taylor Swift was personally stalking him and hacking his phone. The report noted: "Travis is hostile toward police and does not recognize police authority. Travis also possesses several firearms." In 2017, he lived in an apartment above his father's crane rental business in Tremont, Illinois. In June 2017, an employee of the business called police, saying Reinking had come downstairs carrying a rifle, wearing a pink dress, and using an expletive before tossing the rifle in his trunk and leaving the building. On another occasion around the same time, a public pool director called police to report Reinking had come to the pool in a "pink women's housecoat" and then exposed himself to lifeguards.
In July 2017, the U.S. Secret Service arrested Reinking near the White House after he crossed a barrier and refused to leave. The Secret Service said Reinking had said he "wanted to set up a meeting with the president". The report notes he made reference to being a "sovereign citizen". Reinking was charged with unlawful entry (a misdemeanor) and entered into a deferred prosecution agreement in July 2017, in which Reinking performed 32 hours of community service and was ordered to stay away from the White House. In November 2017, the court dismissed the case after Reinking successfully completed the program.
Following Reinking's arrest, Illinois authorities revoked his state firearms authorization and seized four of his weapons (including the AR-15 used in the Nashville shooting, two other rifles (a .30-06 Remington Model 710 & a .22-caliber CZ 452-2EZKM), and a handgun). According to the sheriff of Tazewell County, Illinois, Reinking's father, Jeffrey Reinking, who held a valid state authorization card, asked sheriff's deputies whether he could keep the guns, and they allowed him to do so after he assured them "he would keep them secure and away from" his son. Both the Nashville police chief and the Tazewell County sheriff believe that Reinking's father returned the guns to his son sometime before the shooting. Jeffrey Reinking was later charged with "unlawful delivery of a firearm" for returning the weapons to his son.
According to a spokesman for the Nashville police, Reinking moved to the Nashville area in the autumn of 2017 and was employed as a crane and construction worker from January 2018 until April 2018. He was fired on April 3, 2018 for claiming that people, including other employees, were "after him". According to police, four days before the Waffle House shooting, Reinking stole a BMW X6 from a Brentwood, Tennessee, dealership; police used GPS to track the car to Reinking's apartment complex and located the keyfob in his apartment.
Reinking was charged with four counts of criminal homicide, four counts of attempted homicide, and one count of having a firearm while committing a dangerous felony. Forensic psychologists who examined Reinking determined that he suffered from severe schizophrenia, and in August 2018 a judge found Reinking incompetent to stand trial and ordered him committed to a mental hospital for treatment. However, in October 2018 he was found competent to stand trial again. In a January 2020 court appearance prosecutors announced that they will not seek the death penalty against Reinking so he now faces up to life without parole.
Apprehension of suspect
The suspect left no notes behind. A manhunt for Reinking ensued, with police warning the public that he was potentially armed with two other weapons. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation added him to its "most wanted" list and offered a reward for information leading to his arrest.
Reinking was captured the next day, about 34 hours after the shooting, after a construction worker reported him entering a wooded area close to the Waffle House. Police said Reinking was carrying a backpack with a .45-caliber Kimber 1911 handgun and ammunition.
Reactions from public officials
Shortly after the shooting, Nashville Mayor David Briley said, "It's a tragic day for our city anytime people lose their lives at the hands of a gunman." Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said he was "deeply saddened by the tragic incident in Antioch early this morning, and we mourn the lives taken in this senseless act of violence". Congressman Jim Cooper called for restricting "widespread civilian access to military-grade assault weapons".
Mayor Briley attended church with Shaw on April 22.
Fund raising for victims
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- Holly Yan; Artemis Moshtaghian; Darran Simon (April 22, 2018). "Tennessee Waffle House shooting suspect may be armed, police say". CNN. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- Amir Vera (April 22, 2018). "Waffle House shooter was once arrested by Secret Service for trespassing near White House". CNN. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
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- Kristine Phillips (April 23, 2018). "Suspect in Tennessee Waffle House shooting had guns seized after arrest near White House last year". Chicago Tribune. The Washington Post. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
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- Wanted: Travis J. Reinking, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (April 22, 2018).
- Emanuella Grinberg (April 23, 2018), The Waffle House shooting suspect thought Taylor Swift was stalking him and showed other signs of delusion, CNN.
- Amir Vera (April 22, 2018). "Waffle House shooter was once arrested by Secret Service for trespassing near White House". CNN.
- Jess Bidgood, What Is a Sovereign Citizen?, The New York Times (April 23, 2018).
- Kristine Phillips (April 22, 2018). "Manhunt underway after shooter wielding rifle kills four at Tenn. Waffle House, police say". The Washington Post.
- Boucher, Dave (April 22, 2018). "Waffle House shooting: Suspect Travis Reinking previously arrested outside White House". USA Today. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
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- Majoica, Adrian. "Tennessee Waffle House shooter believed to have stolen BMW from dealer days before". WTVC. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
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- Mojica, Adrian (April 22, 2018). "Tennessee Waffle House hero speaks, shooter could still be armed". WWMT. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
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- "Congressman calls for gun control in wake of Waffle House shooting". CBS News. April 22, 2018. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
- Stevens, Matt (May 7, 2018). "Man Who Wrested Rifle From Waffle House Gunman Raises $227,000 for Victims". The New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
- Nadia Judith Enchassi (April 30, 2018). "Waffle House shooting hero James Shaw Jr. raises more than $200K for victims". KFOR. CNN Wire. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
...The GoFundMe campaign, by Thursday afternoon, had raked in just under $165,000 – 11 times its goal – since the attack last Sunday left four people dead. That number is now over $212,000....