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Posted: April 24, 2018

Waffle House shooting: Remembering the victims

Police: 4 Dead After Waffle House Shooting by Nude Gunman

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.

>> Read more trending news 

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.


Related

Waffle House shooting: Man accused of killing 4 in Tennessee arrested

Authorities on Monday afternoon arrested a man suspected of stripping at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee, early Sunday before opening fire on customers and employees, killing four people.

>> Read more trending news 

Nashville police confirmed that authorities arrested suspected shooter Travis Reinking, 29, on Monday afternoon. He was earlier identified as the man suspected of killing Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29; Joe R. Perez, 20; Akilah Dasilva and DeEbony Groves, 21

Update Apr 23, 2018 7:06 PM EDT: Reinking booked in Metro Jail on the four murder warrants.

Update Apr 23, 2018 3:56 PM EDT: An official with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Monday that the father of suspected Waffle House shooter Travis Reinking could face charges for giving his son back his guns after authorities took them following an incident at the White House last year.

Special Agent Marcus Watson said the decision by Jeffrey Reinking to return his son's weapons is "potentially a violation of federal law," The Associated Press reported.

Reinking was barred from owning firearms after he was arrested in July 2017 on a charge of unlawful entry at the White House. According to the AP, Reinking was demanding a meeting with President Donald Trump.

Update Apr 23, 2018 3:20 PM EDT: Police said Monday that a tip from the public led officers to the man suspected of killing four people early Sunday at a Tennessee Waffle House.

"It was a citizen’s tip that led to this apprehension," Police Chief Steve Anderson said Monday at a news conference. "It was a team effort that made this possible."

Travis Reinking, 29, was apprehended just after 1 p.m. CDT Monday after police got a tip about a man crossing into a wooded area behind a construction site near the Waffle House where police said he opened fire Sunday.

Nashville police Lt. Carlos Lara said officers spotted Reinking after following a path through the wooded area and fanning out. He said Reinking said nothing when he was apprehended and requested a lawyer as soon as he was taken to a police station.

He was wearing a backpack and a maroon shirt when officers apprehended him, Lara said. In the backpack, officers said they found a semi-automatic weapon and a Colorado identification card with Reinking's information on it.

"Yesterday was a horrible day for the city of Nashville," Nashville Mayor David Briley said Monday. "Today is a day where we can start moving on as a community, I hope."

Update Apr 23, 2018 2:57 PM EDT: Authorities are expected to provide an update on the case around 2 p.m. CDT.

Update Apr 23, 2018 2:08 PM EDT: The suspect is in custody, Nashville police confirmed Monday afternoon.

Officials did not immediately provide additional information on the arrest.

Update Apr 23, 2018 1:58 PM EDT: Police released a photo Monday of a laptop bag found by a passerby that contained a handwritten identification card with suspected Waffle House shooter Travis Reinking's name on it.

Police spokesman Don Aaron said earlier Monday that the bag was empty save for the handwritten card. Authorities said Reinking was in the area of the Waffle House where the deadly shooting took place early Sunday, but it was not immediately clear when he dropped or ditched his laptop bag.

Update Apr 23, 2018 1:51 PM EDT: The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on Monday released a new photo of Travis Reinking, the 29-year-old man suspected of opening fire after stripping at a Waffle House outside Nashville on Sunday, killing four people.

Authorities said the image was taken in July 2017, after Reinking was arrested outside the White House.

Update Apr 23, 2018 1:43 PM EDT: President Donald Trump is monitoring the situation in Tennessee, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday at a news conference.

"The president offers his condolences to the victims and their families," Huckabee Sanders said, adding that officials are in touch with state and local investigators.

Update Apr 23, 2018 1:17 PM EDT: Officials said at a news conference Monday afternoon that they have yet to learn of any confirmed sightings of Travis Reinking, the 29-year-old man suspected of killing four people in a shooting early Saturday at a Waffle House outside Nashville.

Police spokesman Don Aaron said electronic billboards with Reinking’s face on them will go up throughout the region as authorities continue to search for him.

“There have been no confirmed sightings of him, so we don’t know where he is,” Aaron said. “it is possible that he has left the area, we just don’t know.”

Aaron said police in nearby Brentwood determined that Reinking stole a car from a BMW dealership in the Nashville suburb last week. The vehicle was found parked at his apartment complex, Aaron said.

Police believe Reinking, who is from Illinois, came toTennessee last Fall. He worked a job in construction, but was fired or dismissed from the position three weeks ago, Aaron said. He got another job,which he started last Monday.

Aaron said Reinking did not show up for work Tuesday.

Authorities continue to search for Reinking and to delve into his motive.

“The crime he committed – a quadruple murder – there’s nothing more urgent,” Aaron said.

Update Apr 23, 2018 12:34 PM EDT: Authorities are providing an update on the search for suspected Waffle House shooter Travis Reinking.

Update Apr 23, 2018 12:24 PM EDT: Investigators left Burnette Chapel Church of Christ on Monday morning after searching the woods behind it for signs of suspected shooter Travis Reinking, 29.

Reinking is accused of opening fire at a Waffle House outside Nashville early Sunday morning, killing four people.

  Who is Travis Reinking, the person of interest in the Waffle House shooting?
  Waffle House shooting: Remembering the victims
  Who is James Shaw Jr., the man who disarmed the Waffle House shooter?

Who is Travis Reinking, the person of interest in the Waffle House shooting?

Travis Reinking is a 29-year-old man police are seeking in Sunday morning’s shooting at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee.

>> Read more trending news

Police issued a murder warrant for Reinking late Sunday morning.

Little information has been released by authorities about Reinking, who is from Morton, Illinois. 

Police said Reinking sat in his truck in the Waffle House parking lot for about four minutes before getting out of the vehicle and killing two people outside the restaurant around 3:25 a.m. He went inside the Waffle House and continued to shoot, killing a third person

A fourth person died after being taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, police said.

Related: Waffle House shooting: Remembering the victims

This is the second shooting to occur in the Antioch area in less than a year. In September, one person was killed and seven others were injured when a gunman opened fire at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ. The church is located less than two miles from the Antioch Waffle House.

Police spokesman Don Aaron said at least seven people were taken to a hospital for treatment after Sunday’s shooting. Two people suffered minor injuries and were released from Southern Hills Medical Center, a hospital spokesman said. Police also identified Reinking after the pickup truck he allegedly drove to the restaurant in was registered to him.

Aaron said police retrieved an Illinois driver’s license that identified Reinking. 

He added that Reinking was known to law enforcement in Illinois and in the federal system.

Morton is a town of 16,000 people in central Illinois, located several miles southeast of Peoria.

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

One crowded Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee, led Nashville resident James Shaw Jr. to the restaurant where a gunman opened fire early Sunday morning, killing four people. Shaw acted quickly to disarm the gunman and toss the rifle over the counter at the Antioch restaurant, an action police said saved several lives, The Tennessean reported.

>> Read more trending news

Shaw, 29, a graduate of Tennessee State University, said he was at a fraternity house party on Saturday night and decided to go to a Waffle House with some friends, the newspaper reported.

The restaurant on Bell Road in Antioch was crowded when Shaw and his friends arrived at 2:30 a.m., so they decided to go to the one on Murfreesboro Pike, which was two miles away, the Tennessean reported.

They arrived at the second Waffle House at 3:20 a.m., shortly before the shooting began.

According to his Facebook page, Shaw is a wire technician for AT&T.  At a news conference Sunday afternoon, he said that he was born and raised in Nashville and has a 4-year-old daughter.

He’s a vegan and studied online to be an electrician technician at Brightwood College. He is a graduate of Tennessee State University and attended Hunters Lane Comp High School In Nashville. 

“I think I’m a pretty cool guy,” he told reporters.

Shaw began receiving messages on social media, lauding him for his quick action.

“You are my hero!” Jackie Thames posted on Facebook. “You are so brave and your daughter has just another reason to be proud! Thank you for saving lives sir! The world is a better place with you in it ♡”

“Thank you for your act of bravery,” Kelly Tate posted. “You are an angel to those whose lives you saved. God bless you!”

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