Waffle House suspect still at large a day after Nashville shooting

NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 23 (Reuters) - Police were hunting on Monday in heavy rain for the suspected gunman who fled a Waffle House restaurant in Nashville naked after shooting four people to death, a few months after police became so concerned by his erratic behavior they canceled his gun license.

Travis Reinking, a 29-year-old construction worker, has not been seen since a passerby saw him running shirtless in the woods behind his apartment, where he had gone to apparently pick up a pair of black pants, the Metro Nashville Police Department said.

Meanwhile, police in Reinking's hometown in Tazewell County, Illinois, released incident reports from the last couple of years that show Reinking having multiple encounters with law enforcement about his delusions that people, including singer Taylor Swift, are 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.

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Waffle House shooting in Nashville, Tennessee
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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 killings at the chain restaurant in Tennessee's capital were the latest in a string of high-profile 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.

After multiple bizarre encounters with law enforcement, including an episode in Washington in July 2017 where he was arrested for trying to get into the White House, law enforcement revoked his Illinois-issued license to carry concealed weapons, according to police records.

Reinking's father promised police he would lock up his son's guns, which police say included the AR-15 rifle used in the Waffle House shooting, but later relented and returned the weapons to his son, Nashville police said on Sunday.

In Nashville, two people were shot dead outside the restaurant at about 3:30 a.m. (0730 GMT) on Sunday, and two were killed inside. The suspect fled after a 29-year-old diner, James Shaw Jr., wrestled the rifle from him. Police say Shaw probably saved several lives.

Shaw said he had retreated into a narrow hallway next to bathrooms at the Waffle House when the gunman entered the restaurant.


SEE ALSO: Meet hero who disarmed Waffle House shooter: 'I could have never seen my daughter again'

 

"I was just waiting for a chance, so when I saw the barrel down, I just saw my opportunity and I attacked," Shaw told NBC-TV on Monday morning. He said he took the assault rifle from the suspect and threw it over a counter.

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.

By Monday, two of Reinking's four guns were unaccounted for. One was recovered during a search of Reinking's apartment, police said.

Police said those killed were Waffle House cook Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29, and three patrons: Joe R. Perez, 20; DeEbony Groves, 21; and Akilah Dasilva, 23.

Two wounded patrons were being treated at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, both listed in stable condition early on Monday. Others were cut by shattered glass.

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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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