Waffle House Shooting Suspect Arrested by Nashville Police

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Reuters) -
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, Monday. (Metro Nashville Police Department/Handout via 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 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 morning, 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.

“Murder suspect Travis Reinking is in custody. Arrested moments ago,” the Metro Nashville Police wrote in a Twitter message. No further details about the arrest were immediately available.

Earlier on Monday, police in the Tennessee capital said a passerby found an empty laptop case outside the restaurant, and it was uncertain whether it got there before or after the shooting, leading authorities to widen their search for Reinking.

Police said they did not know what the gunman’s motive was in opening fire at the 24-hour chain restaurant.

“We don’t know why he went into the Waffle House,” spokesman Don Aaron told reporters said.

Asked whether the shootings were racially motivated because all four people killed were black, Aaron said he did not know.

Reinking had also stolen a BMW car from a dealership last week in a neighboring county, which was later recovered from outside his apartment building, Aaron said. Before the shooting, police had no suspect in the theft, but later found the key fob in Reinking’s apartment. The spokesman said it was unclear whether the car theft was connected to the Waffle House attack.

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 a famous singer, 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.

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 February, when a former student killed 17 people with an AR-15 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

By Monday, one of Reinking’s four guns was still unaccounted for, police said, after two were recovered from his apartment.


Updated Monday, April 23, 2018 at 3:33 pm