Nude gunman kills four, hero snatches gun at Nashville waffle house
NASHVILLE, Tennessee − At least four people died when a nearly nude gunman opened fire at a Waffle House restaurant near Nashville, Tennessee early Sunday, and police were issuing murder warrants as they hunted for the suspect.
The death toll could have been higher if not for fast action by a 29-year-old “hero” who snatched away the shooter’s AR-15 assault-type rifle, likely saving many more lives, said Don Aaron, spokesman for the Metropolitan Nashville Police.
Police identified Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, Illinois who was believed to live near the restaurant, as a suspect in the carnage. They said the gunman’s vehicle was registered to him and a shirtless man wearing pants believed to be Reinking was spotted in woods near the restaurant.
“Murder warrants are now being drafted against Travis Reinking,” police said on Twitter.
The gunman, who was naked but for a green jacket, shot and killed two people in the parking lot of the restaurant in Antioch, a section of southeast Nashville, shortly before 3:30 a.m. (0830 GMT).
He then entered the restaurant and opened fire, police said, killing one patron and wounding another, who later died.
One diner who had hidden near the restrooms dashed out and pulled the rifle from the gunman.
“The shots had stopped so he decided to rush the gunman, actually wrestled that assault rifle away, tossed it over the counter and, at that point, the gunman fled,” Aaron said.
As he ran away, the shooter discarded the jacket, which contained additional ammunition, according to police.
Although police were referring to Reinking as “a person of interest,” Aaron said “person of interest is synonymous to suspect” in this case.
Two people wounded in the shooting are at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. One is in critical condition and the other was in critical but stable condition, said hospital spokeswoman Jennifer Wetzel.
Police said the gunman shed his jacket before fleeing on foot. It was unclear if he had another weapon. Local media reported a second shooting nearby might be connected to the Waffle House incident.
Police cautioned that the man is to be considered still armed and extremely dangerous.
The man who disarmed the shooter suffered non-life-threatening wounds, including an injured elbow, police said, and some patrons suffered facial wounds from shattered glass. (Reuters)