Nude gunman kills four at Waffle House restaurant near Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 22 (Reuters) - A nearly nude gunman killed at least four people at a Waffle House restaurant near Nashville, Tennessee early on Sunday and then fled after a patron saved lives by wrestling the assault-style rifle from his hands.

The suspected shooter, identified by authorities as Travis Reinking, 29, was still at large and murder warrants were being issued for him, the Metropolitan Nashville Police said.

Reinking, of Morton, Illinois was believed to live near the restaurant. The gunman's vehicle was registered to him and a shirtless man wearing pants believed to be Reinking was spotted in woods nearby, police said.

The gunman, who was naked but for a green jacket, first shot and killed two people in the parking lot of the restaurant in Antioch, a section of southeast Nashville, shortly before 3:30 a.m. (0830 GMT).

He then entered the restaurant and opened fire, police said, killing one patron and wounding another, who later died.

One diner, named by local media as James Shaw Jr., 29, who had hidden near the restrooms, dashed out and pulled the rifle from the gunman.

Photos from the scene:

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Waffle House shooting in Nashville, Tennessee
NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 22: Law enforcement stand outside a Waffle House where four people were killed and two were wounded after a gunman opened fire with an assault weapon on April 22, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, IL, is person of interest in the shooting and is suspected to have left the scene naked. (Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images)
Suspected shooter Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, Illinois
A police vehicle sits parked at the scene of a fatal shooting at a Waffle House restaurant near Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., April 22, 2018. Metro Nashville Police Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
Metro Davidson County Police inspect the scene of a fatal shooting at a Waffle House restaurant near Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., April 22, 2018. REUTERS/Harrison McClary TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Metro Davidson County Police inspect the scene of a fatal shooting at a Waffle House restaurant near Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., April 22, 2018. REUTERS/Harrison McClary
The truck of Travis Reinking, the suspected shooter, is loaded on a trailer ready to be towed from the scene of a fatal shooting at a Waffle House restaurant near Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. April 22, 2018. REUTERS/Harrison McClary
Metro Davidson County Police inspect the truck of Travis Reinking, the suspected shooter, at the scene of a fatal shooting at a Waffle House restaurant near Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. April 22, 2018. REUTERS/Harrison McClary
Metro Davidson County police search the apartment complex where Waffle House shooting suspect, Travis Reinking, reportedly lives near Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. April 22, 2018. REUTERS/Harrison McClary
Metro Davidson County police and ATF agents search the apartment complex where Waffle House shooting suspect, Travis Reinking, reportedly lives near Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., April 22, 2018. REUTERS/Harrison McClary
Metro Davidson County police search the apartment complex where Waffle House shooting suspect, Travis Reinking, reportedly lives near Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. April 22, 2018. REUTERS/Harrison McClary
Metro Davidson County police search the apartment complex where Waffle House shooting suspect, Travis Reinking, reportedly lives near Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. April 22, 2018. REUTERS/Harrison McClary
Metro Davidson County police search the apartment complex where Waffle House shooting suspect, Travis Reinking, reportedly lives near Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. April 22, 2018. REUTERS/Harrison McClary
Metro Davidson County police search the apartment complex where Waffle House shooting suspect, Travis Reinking, reportedly lives near Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. April 22, 2018. REUTERS/Harrison McClary
Metro Davidson County police search the apartment complex where Waffle House shooting suspect, Travis Reinking, reportedly lives near Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. April 22, 2018. REUTERS/Harrison McClary
Metro Davidson County Police escort a man to his car at the scene of a fatal shooting at a Waffle House restaurant near Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., April 22, 2018. REUTERS/Harrison McClary
Metro Davidson County Police inspect the scene of a fatal shooting at a Waffle House restaurant near Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., April 22, 2018. REUTERS/Harrison McClary
Metro Davidson County Police inspect the scene of a fatal shooting at a Waffle House restaurant near Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., April 22, 2018. REUTERS/Harrison McClary
NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 22: Law enforcement investigate the scene outside a Waffle House where four people were killed and two were wounded after a gunman opened fire with an assault weapon on April 22, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, IL, is person of interest in the shooting and is suspected to have left the scene naked. (Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 22: Law enforcement investigate the scene outside a Waffle House where four people were killed and two were wounded after a gunman opened fire with an assault weapon on April 22, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, IL, is person of interest in the shooting and is suspected to have left the scene naked. (Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 22: Law enforcement stand outside a Waffle House where four people were killed and two were wounded after a gunman opened fire with an assault weapon on April 22, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, IL, is person of interest in the shooting and is suspected to have left the scene naked. (Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images)
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"The shots had stopped so he decided to rush the gunman, actually wrestled that assault rifle away, tossed it over the counter and, at that point, the gunman fled," said police spokesman Don Aaron.

Shaw's fast actions were credited with saving lives, but in an interview with the Tennessean newspaper he dismissed the idea that he was hero.

"It feels selfish," said Shaw, who added that he had been getting a snack with friends after a fraternity house party. "I was just trying to get myself out. I saw the opportunity and pretty much took it."

Shaw suffered non-life-threatening wounds including an injured elbow, while other patrons suffered facial wounds from shattered glass. He said he did not pursue the fleeing gunman for fear he had another weapon.

As the shooter ran off he discarded the jacket, which contained additional ammunition, according to police.

Police cautioned that the suspect was to be considered still armed and extremely dangerous.

Two people wounded in the shooting are at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. One is in critical condition and the other is in critical but stable condition, said hospital spokeswoman Jennifer Wetzel. (Additional reporting by Rich McKay and Barbara Goldberg Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and James Dalgleish)

 

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