April 23, 2018
The suspect in a deadly shooting at a Waffle House was arrested Monday, more than a day after four people died and others were injured at the 24-hour restaurant in the Nashville neighborhood of Antioch, police said.
Waffle House shooting suspect Travis Reinking captured in woods with loaded silver handgun
A tip from a construction worker led police to Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, Ill., and an end to a 34-hour manhunt. Reinking was carrying a loaded silver handgun and a flashlight in a black backpack less than a mile from the shooting scene and close to an elementary school.
Reinking was taken to a nearby police station, where he requested a lawyer and refused to give a statement, police spokesman Don Aaron said. He was taken to Nashville General Hospital before being booked into jail downtown on four counts of homicide.
The suspect's capture just before 1 p.m. CT capped a chaotic search that followed the deadly shooting at about 3:25 a.m. Sunday at a Waffle House near Interstate 24 in the southeast corner of Nashville.
"We are glad to know that our community will receive justice," Nashville Mayor David Briley wrote on Twitter. "The people of Antioch and all of Nashville can breathe a sigh of relief."
Earlier in the day, officers were starting to search an area near Interstate 24 and Old Hickory Bouldvard south of Antioch. On Sunday, someone had found a laptop bag in a grass field near the interchange that contained an identification card with Reinking's name.
It was unclear whether Reinking left the laptop case behind before or after the Waffle House shooting.
Sunday's incident was the third major crime in a high-profile location in this neighborhood in less than three years. Emanuel K. Sampson, 26, has been accused of killing one woman and injuring seven others in a Sept. 24 shooting at Burnette Chapel Church, and police killed Vincente Montano, 29, on Aug. 5, 2015, after he attacked three people with pepper spray and wounded one of the three with a hatchet at Carmike Hickory 8 movie theaters.
In the days before Sunday's Waffle House shooting, Reinking also had stolen a car from a BMW dealership and run from police in Brentwood, Tenn., a little more than 5 miles from the shooting site, Aaron said. Police there briefly chased him Tuesday through rush-hour traffic, but he got away.
Police used the car's GPS to track it to Reinking's apartment complex although he was not identified as a suspect in the theft at that time.
Even as more information about the suspect emerged, Aaron said police did not know what motivated the shooting.
Meanwhile, as the search continued in Antioch, residents peered from windows and front doors as a SWAT truck rolled through. Officers and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives plodded through thick mud and dense wooded areas scattered through the neighborhood.
Although gunshots were heard at one point during the search, Aaron said they had nothing to do with the manhunt and might have come from a nearby gun range. Schools in the Antioch area and nearby LaVergne, Tenn., were locked to visitors.
Here's a rundown of what we know so far:
What we know about suspect Travis Reinking
At the time of the shooting, the gunman was wearing only a green coat. He dropped the coat near the scene and fled on foot, naked, Aaron said. Reinking later was spotted in a wooded area near his apartment complex wearing black pants and no shirt.
Reinking had "previous interactions" with federal, state and local law enforcement although Nashville police had not encountered him. Aaron also said Reinking had a known interest in guns.
In July 2017, the U.S. Secret Service arrested Reinking in the District of Columbia for being in a restricted area near the White House.
"He wanted to set up a meeting with the president," Secret Service representative Todd Hudson said.
After the arrest, his Illinois firearms authorization was revoked and local Illinois police seized four weapons.
"Among the weapons seized by those authorities was the AR-15 rifle used at the Waffle House today," Aaron said at a Sunday afternoon news conference.
Police believe that Reinking's father received the weapons after their confiscation and returned them to his son.
Reinking was believed to have had two weapons as police continued their manhunt, Aaron said.
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