Suspected gunman in Waffle House mass shooting charged

Travis Reinking, 29, was arrested in connection with the mass shooting. (Source: Metro Nashville PD)

Police have arrested and charged the man accused of killing four people and injuring several others in a mass shooting at a Waffle House in Antioch early Sunday morning.

Suspected gunman in Waffle House mass shooting charged

Travis Reinking was arrested at 1:07 p.m. in Antioch. (Source: Metro Nashville PD)

The suspected gunman, 29-year-old Travis Reinking, was arrested at 1:07 p.m. Monday, according to the Metro Nashville Police Department.

Reinking is facing four counts of criminal homicide, four counts of attempted murder and one count of unlawful gun possession in the commission of a violent felony.

During a hearing before a court magistrate on Monday, Reinking's bond was set at $2 million.

On Tuesday morning, Judge Michael Mondelli decided to revoke Reinking's bond. He is scheduled to appear in court May 7.


Police received a call from a resident about a person matching Reinking's description going through a construction site into a wooded area behind 5000 Mountain Springs Drive, which is near Cane Ridge Elementary School.

Detectives responded to the scene in less than 10 minutes. They said several TVA workers who were at the construction site pointed detectives to the area, which is when they saw a pathway in the woods.

Suspected gunman in Waffle House mass shooting charged

Travis Reinking was arrested in the woods off Old Hickory Boulevard. (WSMV)

One of the detectives saw Reinking and ordered him to get down on the ground. Police said Reinking complied and was put in handcuffs without incident.

Investigators said Reinking was wearing a backpack that contained a semi-automatic weapon and ammunition when he was captured. He also reportedly had a Colorado identification card with his name on it.

Reinking was taken to the South Precinct on Harding Place. Police said he refused to give a statement and requested a lawyer. He was taken to Nashville General Hospital for evaluation before being released to the jail.

Police said 160 law enforcement personnel had joined the search for Reinking, including officers from the FBI, the ATF, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Davidson County Sheriff's Office.

"This would not have been accomplished without the cooperation of the community, and it was a citizen's tip that led to this apprehension," said Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson. "It was a team effort that made this possible."

Prior to his arrest, Metro Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron said there had not been any sightings of Reinking reported since 8:30 a.m. Sunday.

Nashville Mayor David Briley issued this statement about the arrest:
I want to thank our Metro police officers, the FBI, the ATF, the Nashville Fire Department and our other partners for their efforts over the past day and a half to apprehend Travis Reinking without further loss of life. He’s no longer a threat to the people of our great city, which has responded with urgency and compassion. We continue to mourn each of the victims whose lives were cut short and grieve with their families and friends.
Tragedies like this are a fundamental threat to our way of life in America. Everyone should be able to go to a restaurant or church or school without fear. I’ll do everything I can to make that possible. If we all come together for the greater good, we can take weapons of war off the street.

According to Aaron, someone tipped off police after finding an empty laptop case at the TravelCenters of America location off Interstate 24 on Old Hickory Boulevard. The laptop case contained a handwritten ID card with the name "Travis Reinking," Police are not sure when Reinking would have been in the area.

All schools in the Antioch area were searched and cleared by officers before students returned Monday morning. All Metro Nashville Public Schools were open on Monday.

During a news conference Monday morning, Aaron confirmed Reinking stole a BMW from a dealership in Brentwood last week. Reinking allegedly led officers with the Brentwood Police Department on a chase. The vehicle was later tracked to an apartment complex, but Reinking was not arrested because officials did not know who he was. Click here to read more and watch a video of the pursuit.


According to the Metro Nashville Police Department, Reinking arrived at the Waffle House on Murfreesboro Pike at 3:19 a.m. Sunday. He reportedly sat in his pickup truck for three to four minutes before getting out with his AR-15 rifle wearing nothing but a green jacket.

Travis Reinking mug

Travis Reinking is accused of gunning down several people inside of the Waffle House. (Photo: Metro Nashville PD)

Police said Reinking shot at two people standing outside of the restaurant and then went inside and continued shooting.

The victims killed in the attack have been identified by police as the following: Taurean Sanderlin, 29, of Goodlettsville - Employee of Waffle House who was shot outside the restaurant Joe Perez, 20, of Nashville - Restaurant patron who was shot outside the restaurant DeEbony Groves, 21, of Gallatin - Belmont University student who was fatally wounded inside the restaurant Akilah Dasilva, 23, of Antioch - Restaurant patron who was shot inside the restaurant and later died at Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPolice said two victims remain hospitalized at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. They have been identified as 21-year-old Shantia Waggoner and 24-year-old Sharita Henderson. Both are in stable condition after being shot in their legs.

Two other victims were taken to TriStar Southern Hills Medical Center, including 29-year-old James Shaw Jr., who took down the gunman after being shot in the arm. Kayla Shaw had cuts to her face and arms from broken glass. Both have been treated and released.

Suspected gunman in Waffle House mass shooting charged

Four people were killed in the shooting early Sunday morning. (WSMV)

INTERACTIVE MAP: Key locations in the investigation

FULL VIDEO: Police hold news conference about Waffle House shooting

VIDEO: Eyewitness describes scene of deadly shooting

VIDEO: News4 interview with the hero who stopped the shooting

Police said Shaw saved many lives when he saw the suspect wrestling with the gun and interfered with him, taking it from the suspect and tossing it behind the counter. Click here to watch News4's interview with Shaw.

During a news conference Monday, Aaron said Reinking had so much firepower with him that he could have continued real devastation inside the Waffle House.

After the shooting, police say Reinking fled the restaurant, shedding his jacket on a nearby street corner. The jacket was recovered by police, and officials said it contained two magazines for the AR-15.

Upon searching Reinking’s truck, MNPD's Hazardous Devices Unit did not find explosives; however, they did recover paperwork showing he had an apartment nearby.

Authorities said they believe Reinking went to his home at the Discovery at Mountain View apartment complex after the shooting and put on clothes.

READ MORE: What we know about accused Waffle House shooter Travis Reinking

A neighbor who knows Reinking spotted him walking in a wooded area near the apartment complex, wearing black pants and no shirt or shoes. K-9 officers last caught his scent near the TVA lines off Murfreesboro Pike.

A SWAT team surrounded the area around Reinking's apartment for several hours Sunday but left after determining he was not there. Sometime around 11 a.m. Sunday, officers deployed a flash-bang grenade outside the door of his apartment. Around 12:30 p.m., the SWAT team left the scene.

Neighbors in the area were on high alert. The residents who live next to Reinking were evacuated.

"Most people don’t think it could happen to or around them this close, but here I am experiencing this same thing now. I’m just being vigilant, keeping an eye out with all the things that are posted online and the updates," said neighbor Matthew Gary.

Belmont University also put out an alert briefly Sunday afternoon after a student reportedly "saw a male walking down 15th Avenue toward Wedgewood carrying what could have been a rifle on his shoulder." Metro officers and Belmont officers searched the area but could not substantiate the report.


At this time, police say they believe the mass shooting was random.

Reinking, who is from Illinois, moved to Nashville in the fall of last year and worked in the crane and construction business.

According to police, he was fired from a job three weeks ago. News4 learned that he was then hired by Crane Works in La Vergne last Monday, but only worked there one day. The company said he did not have a sensitive position and did not display any signs of mental instability.

On Sunday afternoon, law enforcement in Illinois held a press conference explaining their history with Reinking and his family.

In August 2017, officials confiscated four weapons from Reinking due to worries about his mental stability. He voluntarily surrendered the weapons to police, who then turned them over to his father Jeffery Reinking, after he promised to keep them secured and away from his son.

Local officials say Reinking’s father has admitted to returning the weapons to his son, one of which was the AR-15 reportedly used in Sunday's shooting.

It will be up to the Illinois state attorney to decide if charges will be filed against Jeffery Reinking for returning confiscated weapons, but none have been filed at this time.

MORE COVERAGE: Suspected gunman in Waffle House mass shooting arrested | Remembering the victims of the Antioch shooting | Police say man saved many lives by stopping gunman in Waffle House shooting | What we know about accused Waffle House gunman Travis Reinking | Exclusive: Reinking traveled to Franklin days after White House arrest | Accused murderer’s grandmother: 'He's a sick boy' | Brother said shooting victim was passionate musician, loved his family | Radio station shares kind words for employee hospitalized in shooting

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Multimedia Producer

Kara is an Emmy Award-winning digital producer. She is a Cincinnati native and an alumna of the University of South Carolina. She previously worked at WRDW-TV in Augusta, Ga., before moving to Nashville five years ago to work at WSMV-TV.

Recommended for you