Police tape marks the apartment building reported to be where Travis Reinking lives in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, April 22, 2018. Police say Reinking is the suspect in a shooting at a Waffle House restaurant Sunday in Nashville that left four people dead. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Suspect in deadly Waffle House shooting still being sought

Police say Travis Reinking is the suspect in a shooting at a Waffle House restaurant Sunday in Nashville that left four people dead.

As an intensive manhunt continued Monday for a half-naked man suspected in the slayings of four people at a Waffle House restaurant, authorities shared reports of previous efforts to contain the gun-loving man with paranoid delusions.

More than 80 Nashville police officers continued to search for Travis Reinking early Monday, authorities said. Agents with the FBI, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol joined the manhunt.

He was also added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Top 10 Most Wanted list.

Related: Half-naked shooter guns down four, runs away in Nashville Waffle House shooting

Reinking was nearly naked, wearing only a green jacket and brandishing an assault-style rifle when he opened fire in the parking lot and then stormed the restaurant, police say. Four people were killed and four others were injured before a quick-thinking customer wrestled the gun away, preventing more bloodshed.

Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson said at a news conference that Reinking, 29, was last seen Sunday around a wooded area near an apartment complex where he lived, wearing only pants and no shirt or shoes.

Anderson said it’s not clear why Reinking opened fire on restaurant patrons with an assault weapon, though he may have “mental issues.”

He may still be armed, Anderson said, because he was known to have owned a handgun authorities have not recovered.

“He’s on foot,” Anderson said. “Unless he’s been picked up by a car, he would be fairly close. We don’t want to alarm people, but certainly, everybody should take precautions. It could be he’s in an unoccupied house. We want everybody to be concerned. Neighbors should check on each other.”

Nashville public schools will go into “lock-out” mode if Reinking isn’t found in time for class Monday, officials said. That means students will be free to move about the building, but no guests or visitors will be allowed to enter.

As the search continued, authorities in Illinois shared past reports suggesting multiple red flags about a disturbed young man with paranoid delusions who liked firearms.

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

Another sheriff’s report said 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 crossed into a restricted area near the White House and refused to leave, saying he wanted to meet 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.

Then, 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.

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

“There’s certainly evidence that there’s some sort of mental health issues involved,” Tazwell 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.”

Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said that Reinking’s father “has now acknowledged giving them back” to his son.

After the shooting, police recovered three of the four guns originally taken from Reinking, officials said. They believe he still has at least one handgun.

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

It is not clear why Reinking moved recently from Morton, Illinois, to Nashville and if it had anything to do with being near Swift. Police say he was employed in construction for a while, and there would have been enough work in the booming city for him.

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 have been identified as Taurean Sanderlin, 29, of Goodlettsville, and Joe Perez, 20, of Nashville.

Sanderlin was an employee at the restaurant.

Perez’s mother posted a picture of her son on Facebook and asked for prayers, saying it was the hardest day of her life. “Me, my husband and sons are broken right now with this loss,” Trisha Perez said in the post. “Our lives are shattered.”

Reinking then went inside the restaurant and opened fire, police said.

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.

“She was a brilliant young lady, very, very intelligent and a very hard worker,” Gallatin High School basketball coach Kim Kendrick told The Tennessean.

Akilah Dasilva was also killed inside the restaurant. The 23-year-old from Antioch was a rap artist and music video producer who had such skills behind the camera that he was a favourite among many of Music City’s independent musicians and recording labels, The Tennessean reported.

“Music is my life and I will never stop until I achieve my dreams,” Dasilva said on his Twitter account.

Dasilva’s mother told CBS News that her son was a student at Middle Tennessee State University and aspired to be a music engineer.

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.”

Related: Facing death penalty, Florida school shooting suspect in court

___

Associated Press writers John Raby in Charleston, West Virginia; Ed White in Detroit; and Justin Pritchard in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Sheila Burke, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Alberni hosts Island track and field championship

Secondary schools compete at Bob Dailey Stadium

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

200,000 salmon smolts released in netpens for Alberni salmon enhancement

West Coast Aquatic has released 205,000 chinook smolts into two net pens… Continue reading

Virtual simulation engages users in the event of a tsunami hitting Port Alberni

A team from the University of Victoria display a tsunami simulation at the 2018 #BCTECH Summit

VIDEO: Grand Forks shores up defences as floodwaters rise to peak levels

Canadian Forces, volunteers working to protect low-lying areas

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Searchers for Vancouver Island father turn focus to Cowichan River

Cowichan SAR joined by many other SAR groups, volunteers now determined to find missing man

Vacationers urged to check for stowaway bats that could carry deadly disease

‘White-nose syndrome’ has killed millions of bats in North America, but hasn’t arrived in B.C. yet

Highway 19A closed in both directions near Union Bay

An incident involving a vehicle has shut down Highway 19A in both directions early Saturday morning.

Are B.C.’s gas prices enough to keep you from travelling May long weekend?

Gas prices in B.C. ranging from 125 cents per litre to more than 150 cents

Most Read