Waffle House Shooting: Suspect Got His Guns Back After White House Incident - Rolling Stone
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The Very Latest on the Waffle House Shooting

The suspect is now in custody.

The Very Latest on the Waffle House ShootingThe Very Latest on the Waffle House Shooting

Travis Reinking had a history of instability before reportedly opening fire at a Waffle House near Nashville on Sunday.

Mark Humphrey/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Update 2:27 PM: Police have arrested Travis Reinking, the primary suspect in the shooting, according to The Associated Press. Original post below.


Early Sunday morning, a man opened fire on a Waffle House near Nashville, shooting multiple patrons before an unarmed customer charged him, seized his weapon and forced him to flee.

The police identified the suspect as Travis Reinking, a 29-year-old man who had lived in Morton, Illinois, before moving to Nashville in 2017, according to The New York Times.

Reinking reportedly used an AR-15 rifle, a weapon of choice in numerous mass shootings, to kill a Waffle House employee and three customers, all of whom were in their twenties, the Times reports. Another shooting victim was in critical condition, while a sixth was in critical but stable condition. Two other victims were discharged from the hospital after being treated.

As of Monday morning, the suspect was still at large. Here’s everything we know about the attack.

The suspect thought he was being stalked by Taylor Swift.

As early as 2014, Reinking’s family members said he had become “delusional,” according to the Times. A 2016 police report noted that Reinking “believed the famous entertainer, Taylor Swift, was harassing him via stalking and hacking his phone;” he also believed that he had encountered her at a Dairy Queen and chased her away.

He was also arrested near the White House last year.

Reinking was taken into custody by the Secret Service in July 2017 when he was found trespassing in a restricted area near the White House, CNN reports. According to an arrest report, Reinking insisted that he had to meet the president. After being told to sign up for a White House tour and being asked to move, Reinking repeated his demands. He eventually walked past the security barriers and told the Secret Service, “Do what you need to do, arrest me if you have to.” He was promptly arrested and charged with unlawful entry.

After the White House incident, the suspect’s weapons were taken from him.

Following Reinking’s release by the Secret Service, the FBI interviewed him in Illinois and decided to revoke his firearm authorization, according to CNN. They seized four weapons, including a 9 mm handgun, an AR-15, a .22-caliber rifle and a Remington 710. Reinking gave up the guns without protest.

Nevertheless, Reinking got his weapons back.

The Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office in Illinois returned the firearms to Reinking’s father. “He was allowed to do that [take back the guns] after he assured deputies that he would keep them secure and away from Travis,” Tazewell County Sheriff Robert M. Huston said. “We have no information about how Travis came back into possession of those firearms.” The Nashville police said on Sunday that Reinking’s father subsequently returned the guns to his son, according to the Times.

The suspect was nearly naked at the time the attack.

Nashville police said Reinking arrived at the Waffle House in Antioch near 3:19 a.m. Minutes later, he got out of the car with his rife, wearing nothing but a green jacket in which he had two more magazines of ammunition, and opened fire.

A customer, James Shaw Jr., charged the shooter while he was reloading.

James Shaw Jr. and a friend ended up at the Waffle House near Antioch after leaving a club. Minutes after sitting down, Reinking started shooting. At first, Shaw Jr. told Good Morning America on Monday, he thought someone had knocked over a stack of plates. When it became apparent that someone was shooting at the restaurant, Shaw Jr. and his friend took cover near the bathrooms. But when Reinking stopped fire to reload, Shaw Jr. ran out from his hiding place and tackled the gunman, grabbing his rifle and throwing it over the counter. Reinking ran away. The police found his jacket near the scene of the crime.

“I’m not a hero,” Shaw Jr. said in a news conference on Sunday, according to the Times. “I’m just a regular person.”

On Sunday, Shaw Jr. launched a GoFundMe page for families of the shooting victims.

Antioch has been the site of two other violent attacks recently.

In 2015, Vincente Montano, who had a history of mental illness, attacked customers with pepper spray and a hatchet in a theater watching the film Mad Max, The Tennessean reports. Although none of the patrons were killed, a SWAT team shot and killed Montano.

In November, a gunman opened fire in a church, according to The Tennessean. The suspect killed one churchgoer and wounded eight before accidentally shooting himself and being taken into custody.


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