Illinois man wanted for Waffle House slayings arrested, found with gun in backpack

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Police said they have the Illinois man wanted for a quadruple homicide at a Tennessee Waffle House in custody on Monday.

Travis Reinking is accused of killing four people at a Nashville-area restaurant on Sunday.

Investigators say the 29-year-old sat in his pickup truck for a few minutes, then got out naked, except for a green jacket, and shot two people outside the restaurant with an AR-15 rifle. They say he continued his rampage inside, killing another two people.

Police say Reinking ran off after a customer wrestled his gun away.

After a day long manhunt, officers found him in a wooded area and arrested him.

“Once he was in custody, the detectives went and cut the backpack off of him, because he was in cuffs. When they looked into his backpack…they saw a silver, Kimber semiautomatic weapon with .45 caliber ammunition, a flashlight, and a holster on his person,” Carlos Lara of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said.

Reinking faces four counts of homicide. His motive for the murders remains unclear. Reinking is reportedly a native of the Morton, Illinois area. 

In May 2016, Reinking told Tazewell County deputies that music star Taylor Swift was stalking him and had hacked his phone.

According to another report, Reinking 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 U.S. Secret Service after he entered a restricted area near the White House and refused to leave, saying he wanted to meet President Donald Trump. 

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, according to a report.

“There’s certainly evidence that there’s some sort of mental health issues involved,” Tazewell County Sheriff Robert Huston said. But he said deputies returned the guns to Reinking’s father on the promise that he would “keep the weapons secure and out of the possession of Travis.”

Reinking’s father “has now acknowledged giving them back” to his son, Aaron said. A federal official says the father could face charges for returning guns.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives special Agent Marcus Watson said at a news conference Monday that Jeffrey Reinking’s act of returning the guns to his son is “potentially a violation of federal law.”

Phone calls to a number listed for the father, Jeffrey Reinking, went unanswered.

It is not clear why Reinking moved recently from Morton, Illinois, and if it had anything to do with being near Swift, who has a home in Nashville. Police say he worked in construction for a while.

Police say Reinking drove into the Waffle House parking lot in his gold Chevy Silverado pickup early Sunday and sat there for about four minutes before opening fire outside the restaurant.

The victims fatally shot in the parking lot have been identified as Taurean Sanderlin, 29, of Goodlettsville, and Joe Perez, 20, of Nashville. Sanderlin was an employee at the restaurant.

One of the fatally wounded inside was DeEbony Groves, a 21-year student at Nashville’s Belmont University. She was remembered as an exceptional student who made the Dean’s list, and a tenacious basketball player.

Akilah Dasilva was also killed inside the restaurant. The 23-year-old from Antioch was a rap artist and music video producer.

He was at the restaurant with his girlfriend, 21-year-old Tia Waggoner, the paper reported. Waggoner was wounded and is being treated at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dasilva’s family said she underwent surgery and doctors were trying to save her leg.

Police say Sharita Henderson, 24, of Antioch, was wounded and is being treated at VUMC.

Also wounded was James Shaw Jr., a 29-year-old restaurant patron who burned his hand grabbing the hot muzzle of the assault weapon as he wrestled the gun away. A Nashville native who works as a wireless technician for AT&T, Shaw said he was no hero – despite being hailed as one by Nashville Mayor David Briley.

Shaw said he pounced on the suspect out of self-preservation, after making up his mind that “he was going to have to work to kill me.”

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