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Posted: April 24, 2018

Waffle House shooting: Remembering the victims

Police: 4 Dead After Waffle House Shooting by Nude Gunman

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By Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

NASHVILLE, Tenn. —

Four people were killed when a nearly nude gunman, armed with an AR-15, opened fire at a Nashville, Tennessee, Waffle House Sunday.

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Travis Reinking, is the suspected shooter, was arrested Monday afternoon after police got a tip about a man crossing into a wooded area near the Waffle House.

Related: Who is James Shaw Jr., the man who disarmed the Waffle House shooter?

Those killed have been identified as Akilah DaSilva, 23, DeEbony Groves, 21, Joe R. Perez, 20, and Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29. Two others, Shanita Waggoner, 21, and Sharita Henderson, 24, were injured. 

Here is what we know about the victims.

Akilah DaSilva

DaSilva was at the restaurant with his older brother and Waggonner, his girlfriend of five years. He was critically wounded at the restaurant and later died at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

The 23-year-old was a musical engineering student at Middle Tennessee State University and a musician who went by the stage name Natrix, his mother, Shaundell Brooks, told WTVF.

The family released the following statement on DaSilva:

“Akilah DaSilva also known as Natrix (his stage name) was a humble kind and well respected young man. His character spoke volumes. One of 6 loving siblings, Akilah was passionate about his music, family, and life. He was pursuing a career in musical engineering at MTSU. He had a smile that could light up a room and a laugh that would warm your heart. He embodied compassion and had a zeal for life. A loving son and selfless friend, he was a beacon of hope, love, and strength in his family.

“His family hopes that in the midst of this senseless act of terrorism and hate, his life will not be in vain. We hope that this tremendous loss will spark tangible action in true gun law reform so no other family would ever have to experience this sort of tragedy.

“In the wake of this tragic event, The DaSilva Family welcomes prayers, words of comfort, and any contribution during their time of grief.”

GoFundMe page has been created by the family. It has surpassed its $10,000 goal.

DeEbony Groves

A member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Groves was with some of her sorority sisters, including Henderson, at the Waffle House, WKRN reported. She was fatally shot in the restaurant. The New York Times reported she was a senior sociology major at Belmont University and worked two jobs

“The entire campus community is shocked and devastated by how such senseless violence has taken the life of this young woman, an individual full of immense potential,” the school said in a statement. “We extend our thoughts and prayers to her family and friends as they come to terms with unimaginable grief.”

Mark Humphrey/AP
A woman, center, who would only be identified as the godmother of shooting victim DeEbony Groves, cries as she listens at a news conference regarding the capture of Travis Reinking Monday, April 23, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. Reinking, who police say shot and killed at least four people Sunday at a Waffle House restaurant, was captured Monday in a wooded area near his apartment complex and the restaurant. Groves, 21, was a student at Nashville's Belmont University. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Groves’ grandmother, Carolyn Groves, told the NYT she would always find time to visit her. 

“She was a sweetheart,” Groves said of her granddaughter.

Police told The Tennessean Henderson is in critical but stable condition.

Delta Sigma Theta president Beverly E. Smith said in a statement that the sorority will mourn the injuries and loss of life.

“Sorors, we will honor those who have lost their lives or who have been affected by gun violence by raising our voices, casting our votes and standing on the side of justice in our communities,” Smith said. “We mourn this loss today, but we will not let this act of violence silence our will to do what is right.”

Joe R. Perez

The Associated Press reported that, according to a police statement, Perez, 20, was killed in the parking lot of the Waffle House with Taurean Sanderlin, 29.

The Austin American-Statesman reported that Perez was from Texas and had family in Austin. Patricia Perez, who is reportedly the victim’s mother, posted on Facebook Sunday asking for prayers.

“Please say a prayer for my family for today is the hardest day of my life,” the post said. “Me, my husband and sons are broken right now with this loss. Our lives are shattered.”

The New York Times reported that Perez moved to Nashville to work with one of his two older brothers after graduating from Hays High School in 2016. He was supposed to pick up his mother from the airport Wednesday when she visited him in Nashville. She last spoke to him Saturday night.

“I will never see him again,” Patricia Perez aid. “He was my baby.”

Taurean C. Sanderlin

Sanderlin, a Waffle House employee, was killed in the restaurant parking lot with Joe Perez, The AP reported

According to The New York Times, Walter G. Ehmer, the chief executive of Waffle House, said Sanderlin had worked at the chain for five years. The Goodlettsville, Tennessee, resident, was slain as he stood outside the restaurant while taking a break, The Tennessean reported.


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