Saturday 19 January 2019

Waffle House gun suspect arrested after huge manhunt

Nashville shooting suspect Travis Reinking. Photo: Reuters
Nashville shooting suspect Travis Reinking. Photo: Reuters

Sehila Burke Nashville

The suspect in a quadruple homicide at a Nashville Waffle House was arrested yesterday.

Police mounted a massive manhunt for 29-year-old Travis Reinking after the attacks.

More than 100 Nashville officers had been going door-to-door and searching wooded areas, joined by dozens of agents with the FBI, the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Police said he had stolen a BMW days before the attack. The car was quickly recovered, but authorities did not immediately link it to Reinking.

Reinking opened fire with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in the Waffle House parking lot, then stormed the restaurant shortly after 3am on Sunday.

Four people were killed and four others injured before a quick-thinking customer wrestled the assault weapon away, preventing more bloodshed. Reinking then disappeared.

Police said about 20 people were in the Waffle House at the time and included people of different races and ethnicities.

The four murdered people were minorities - three black and one Hispanic.

It's not clear why Reinking opened fire, though he may have "mental issues", police chief Steve Anderson said.

Authorities in Illinois shared past reports suggesting multiple red flags about a disturbed young man with paranoid delusions.

In May 2016, Reinking told deputies from Tazewell County, Illinois, that music superstar Taylor Swift was stalking him and hacking his phone, and his family was also involved.

Reinking agreed to go to a local hospital for an evaluation after repeatedly resisting the request, the sheriff's report said.

Another police report said Reinking had barged into a community pool in Tremont, Illinois, last June, and jumped into the water wearing a pink woman's coat over his underwear. Investigators believed he had an AR-15 rifle in his car trunk, but it was never displayed. No charges were filed.

Last July, Reinking was arrested by the US Secret Service after he crossed into a restricted area near the White House and refused to leave, saying he wanted to meet President Donald Trump.

He wasn't armed but at the FBI's request, state police in Illinois revoked his state firearms card and seized four guns.

The AR-15 used in the shootings was among the firearms seized.

In August, Reinking told police he wanted to file a report about 20 to 30 people tapping into his computer and phone and people "barking like dogs" outside his residence.

Tazewell County deputies had returned the guns to Reinking's father on the promise he would "keep the weapons secure and out of the possession of Travis". It is understood he had acknowledged giving them back to his son.

Irish Independent

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