NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Waffle House shooting survivor Vincente Tre’Vonne Sneed, 35, is reacting to the district attorney’s recent decision to seek a sentence of life in prison for suspect Travis Reinking, instead of the death penalty.
Reinking, who was 29 at the time of the shooting, is accused of going to the Waffle House in Antioch in the early morning hours of April 22, 2018. Police said he was nearly naked, wearing only a green jacket, when he opened fire on people in the parking lot and inside the restaurant with an assault rifle, killing four.
“He blasted the windows out and shot his way in,” said Sneed.
Sneed, who goes by the first name of “Tre,” spoke exclusively with News4 about the decision by Nashville’s District Attorney Glenn Funk to not seek the death penalty against Reinking.
“Who is making these decisions?” Sneed said, exasperated. “As far as taxpayer’s dollars, [Reinking] isn’t worth feeding a sandwich to.”
Sneed said the shooter backed him into a corner and placed his gun close enough to Sneed’s head that he could smell the barrel of the gun.
“[James Shaw, Jr.] got the gun away right as he was about to shoot me in the head,” said Sneed.
Reinking was arrested one day after the shooting thanks to a tip by a person who saw him walk through a construction site and into a wooded area.
Sneed spoke candidly about the continued pain the shooting causes him, including his struggle with PTSD.
"If I cry I try to do it early in the morning and get it out of the way - I just hide it and try to do my best,” said Sneed.
When asked whether Sneed has nightmares, he responded by saying “Day-mares. I go to sleep to escape the day-mare.”
Sneed recently began writing about his experience as a survivor in a new book. He’s given it the working title of “One Minute, 27 Seconds,” which is the amount of time police say Reinking reigned terror on the restaurant from start to finish.
"I'm writing a book about surviving,” says Sneed. “It's really hard. I cry while I'm typing it."
Sneed is working with a literary agent from Xulon Press, a Christian publishing company.
Since the shooting, a number of civil lawsuits have been filed against Reinking and his family. Two have been settled and dismissed out of court.
Reinking's criminal case is far from over. It was put on hold for months while he was being treated for schizophrenia. A judge later deemed Reinking was fit for trial and he was indicted last year on 17 counts - including murder. A trial date has not been set.
"The whole Antioch, Nashville [community] got PTSD,” said Sneed. “[Reinking] is still alive and people don't feel safe."