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Search Continues for Travis Reinking, Accused of Killing 4 People Sunday at a South Nashville Waffle House



The four persons murdered at the Waffle House, 3571 Murfreeesboro Pike, early this morning have been positively identified:

  • Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29, of Goodlettsville, an employee of the restaurant who was fatally wounded as he stood outside;
  • Joe R. Perez, 20, of Nashville, a restaurant patron who was fatally wounded as he stood outside;
  • DeEbony Groves, 21, of Gallatin, who was fatally wounded inside the restaurant;
  • Akilah Dasilva, 23, of Antioch, who was critically wounded inside the restaurant and later died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Two other persons were wounded by gunfire and are being treated at Vanderbilt. They are identified as:

  • Shanita Waggoner, 21, of Nashville; and
  • Sharita Henderson, 24, of Antioch.

Arrest warrants charging Travis Reinking, 29, with multiple counts of criminal homicide has been issued. Efforts to locate Reinking are continuing. MNPD SWAT officers cleared his apartment in the Discovery at Mountain View complex, 5000 Mountain Springs Drive, during the noon hour. He was not present.

The investigation to this point shows that Reinking arrived at the Waffle House in his pickup truck at 3:19 a.m. He sat inside the vehicle for three to four minutes before getting out armed with an AR-15 rifle. He immediately opened fire on Sanderlin and Perez. The front glass of the restaurant was also shot out. He then went inside and continued shooting.

Waffle House patron James Shaw, Jr., 29, initially ran to the restroom area to escape the gunfire. He then looked and saw an opportunity to confront Reinking. Shaw took that opportunity, wrestled the rifle from Reinking’s grasp, and tossed it over the counter. Shaw’s actions undoubtedly saved many lives. Reinking, who was nude during the episode with the exception of a jacket, fled the restaurant. He shed the jacket nearby. It contained two magazines for the AR-15. Reinking then walked south on Murfreesboro Pike.

A search of Reinking’s truck, after the MNPD Hazardous Devices Unit confirmed that there was no explosives inside, led to the discovery of paperwork showing that he had a nearby apartment.

It is presently presumed that Reinking went to the apartment after the shooting, put on a pair of pants, and again fled. A witness reported seeing a shirtless man matching his description in a wood line behind the apartment. MNPD officers and federal authorities are now working to determine Reinking’s whereabouts.

Reinking is believed to have moved to Nashville in the fall of 2017. He worked in the crane/construction trade. The police department has been informed that he was fired from one employer three weeks ago and started with another last Monday, but did not return to work on Tuesday.

Reinking was arrested by the United States Secret Service for being in a restricted area near the White House in July of 2017. He was subsequently released. Reinking was later interviewed by Tazewell County, Illinois, authorities and the FBI. His Illinois firearms authorization was revoked and four weapons were seized by Tazewell County authorities, among them was the AR-15 used today. The police department has received information that the guns were returned to Reinking’s father, who has acknowledged giving them back to his son. Presently two of the four guns are unaccounted for (one of them was recovered during the apartment search).

Anyone seeing Travis Reinking or knowing his whereabouts is urged to immediately contact the Emergency Communications Center at 615-862-8600, Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463, or their local law enforcement agency.


Hero James Shaw, Jr. speaks to the media as Mayor David Briley and Chief Steve Anderson look on.

Travis Reinking, 29

Reinking AR-15