Waffle House shooting suspect arrested by Nashville police

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.

Waffle House shooting suspect Travis Reinking:

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Waffle House shooting suspect Travis Reinking
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Waffle House shooting suspect Travis Reinking
Waffle House shooting suspect Travis Reinking was taken into custody by Metro Nashville Police on Monday, April 23, 2018.

(Photo: Metro Nashville PD)
Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, Illinois, is shown in this undated photo obtained April 22, 2018. Reinking is wanted as a person of interest by police after 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
UNSPECIFIED DATE AND LOCATION: (EDITORS NOTE: Best quality available) In this handout provided by the Metro Nashville Police Department, the AR-15 assault rifle used in a shooting at a Nashville-area Waffle House that left four dead and four wounded is pictured. The suspected gunman, Travis Reinking, 29, of Illinois, is still at large. (Photo by Metro Nashville Police Department via Getty Images)
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
Travis Reinking appears in a booking photo provided by the Metro Nashville Police Department in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., April 23, 2018. Metro Nashville Police Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY. AN UNPROCESSED VERSION HAS BEEN PROVIDED SEPARATELY
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 search the apartment complex where Waffle House shooting suspect, Travis Reinking, reportedly lives near Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. April 22, 2018. REUTERS/Harrison McClary
Waffle House shooting suspect Travis Reinking was taken into custody by Metro Nashville Police on Monday, April 23, 2018.

(Photo: Metro Nashville PD)
NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 22: Law enforcement investigate at the Discovery at Mountain View Apartments complex where a man believed to be suspected gunman Travis Reinking was spotted on April 22, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. A gunman entered a nearby Waffle House and opened fire and killed 4 killed and injured two during the shooting. (Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 22: A sign for the Discovery at Mountain View Apartments complex where a man believed to be suspected gunman Travis Reinking was spotted on April 22, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. A gunman entered a nearby Waffle House and opened fire and killed 4 killed and injured two during the shooting. (Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images)
Travis Reinking appears in a booking photo provided by the Metro Nashville Police Department in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., April 23, 2018. Metro Nashville Police Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
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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 attack.

“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 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 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.

These are the victims of the Waffle House shooting: 

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Waffle House shooting victims
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Waffle House shooting victims

DeEbony Groves, 21

Photo Credit: Facebook 

Joe R. Perez, 20

Photo Credit: Facebook

Akilah DaSilva, 23

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Dasilva Family 

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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 from him.

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, on Twitter.

"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.

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