Waffle House shooting: What we know about Travis Reinking, the Nashville shooting suspect subject of massive manhunt
Authorities say they have arrested Travis Reinking, the man suspected of storming a Waffle House restaurant in Nashville and fatally shooting four people with an assault rifle.
Authorities announced the arrest Monday afternoon on Twitter, but did not immediately give details.
Police said Sunday Reinking was nearly naked when he allegedly opened fire with an assault-style rifle in a parking lot before storming the restaurant to carry out the rampage. At least four others were injured in the shooting.
When officers arrived, they found three people dead, while another died later in hospital. Two others were shot and injured, while local reports say that two other people were injured after being hit by glass from the restaurant windows.
Police credit Waffle House customer James Shaw Jr. for preventing the attacker from causing more carnage after he wrestled away the shooter’s weapon. The suspect then fled from the scene.
Metro Nashville police said Monday, the suspect still remains at large and there have been no credible sightings. Authorities searched schools in the area near the restaurant in the Tennessee city’s Antioch neighbourhood. Schools planned to open with extra security, police said, with a “lockout” barring all visitors in effect.
Here’s what we know about the suspected shooter.
Reinking, 29, is originally from Morton, Ill., and had become known to authorities after a July 2017 incident where he was detained by the U.S. Secret Service for being found in a restricted area near the White House. Reinking refused to leave the area and said he wanted to meet U.S. President Donald Trump. Reinking was not armed at the time, but at the FBI’s request, state police in Illinois revoked his state firearms card and seized four guns from him, authorities said.
The AR-15 used in the shootings was among the firearms seized, according to the Associated Press.
Deputies from Tazewell County, Ill., said Sunday that Reinking had a history of disturbing behaviour while he was a resident in the surrounding communities.
“The police reports speak for themselves. I think anyone can conclude after reading them that there’s evidence (Reinking) has mental health issues,” Tazewell County Sheriff Bob Huston told reporters Sunday.
Reinking believed on several occasions that popstar Taylor Swift was stalking him, according to Tazewell County police records. According to local newspaper the JournalStar, police were called to a CVS pharmacy in May 2016 for an incident in the parking lot, where Reinking told deputies Swift had hacked his cellphone and was stalking his family. In a separate incident, the Waffle House shooting suspect again told authorities that Swift had hacked his Netflix account, telling him to meet her at a Dairy Queen.
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In August 2017, Reinking told a Tazewell sheriff’s deputy that he believed up to 30 people had hacked his cellphone and personal computer and that he had been hearing people barking like dogs outside of his home, the JournalStar reported. Reinking agreed to go to a local hospital for an evaluation after repeatedly resisting the request to see mental health officials.
Another sheriff’s report said Reinking barged into a community pool in Tremont, Ill., in June 2017, 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, the Associated Press reported. No charges were filed.
Agents with the FBI, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol were assisting in the hunt for Reinking , along with nearly 100 Nashville police officers.
WATCH: 4 dead, 4 injured in Waffle House shooting in Tennessee
On Monday morning, Nashville police Chief Steve Anderson urged residents to be vigilant and to report any possible sightings of Reinking.
“Residents should take precautions. We don’t want to alarm people, but certainly everyone should take precaution,” Anderson said during a briefing with media.
Authorities later said Reinking had stolen a BMW days before the Waffle House shooting, and ditched the car at an apartment complex.
Police announced the arrest on Twitter, saying he was found in a wooded area.
–with files from Kevin Nielsen and the Associated Press
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