Waffle House Shooter Travis Reinking Thought Taylor Swift Was Stalking Him
Travis Reinking, the suspected gunman who opened fire at a Waffle House restaurant in Antioch, Tennessee on Sunday, killing four people, apparently thought Taylor Swift was stalking him.
Reinking is accused of entering the Waffle House on Murfreesboro Pike near Nashville at 3:25 am on Sunday morning, and opening fire with an AR-15 rifle. After a 2-day-long manhunt, he was apprehended by police around 1:00 pm local time on Monday afternoon. According to police reports from 2016, Reinking thought Swift had hacked into his phone and Netflix accounts. In a prior interview with police, he even said that he had chased Taylor Swift up onto the roof of a Dairy Queen.
Reinking’s parents, Jeff & Judith, said Travis had been experiencing delusions since 2014. In 2016, they called the police to a CVS parking lot in Morton, Illinois, because Travis had been making suicidal threats and owned firearms. The following year, in June 2017, he threatened someone with an AR-15 while wearing a pink dress, then drove to a public pool, dove in, and then tried to have a naked fight with a lifeguard. Only one month later, he was arrested at the White House after jumping a barrier to try and meet with President Trump.
Because of these incidents, in August 2017 he was forced to give up his four guns, which included the AR-15 he used to carry out the Waffle House shooting. According to police in Illinois, Travis’s father Jeff Reinking was allowed to hold onto the weapons since he had a valid license. Jeff Reinking told police he would keep the guns safe and away from his son. At this point, however, authorities believe Jeff willingly gave the weapons back to his Travis.
Travis had recently moved to Nashville, and he apparently wasn’t breaking any law by having deadly weapons in his possession there. And just days before the shooting, he stole a BMW from a dealership, leading police on a brief chase before escaping. “Police used the car’s GPS to track it to Reinking’s apartment complex,” but somehow, did not identify him as a suspect.
The gun he used to commit the murders was a Bushmaster XM-15. Bushmaster, by the way, proudly states on its Twitter that it is the “leading supplier of AR15 type rifles in the United States.” The other weapons given to Travis’s father for safekeeping were a Kimber 9 millimeter handgun, a CZ-USA 22 caliber rifle and a Remington 710, plus ammunition.
Travis Reinking hadn’t posted anything publicly on Facebook since March 2017, since this video with the caption: The Illuminati Is Real. The contents of that video are unknown and has since been removed from YouTube for violating their policy on harassment and bullying.
Now, let’s turn our attention to the victims. They were all people of color under 30 years old.
Akilah Dasilva (23)
Akilah Dasilva was studying musical engineering at Middle Tennessee State University. He was shot inside the restaurant and later died at the hospital. He was 23. A GoFundMe page has been set up in Akilah’s honor. Akilah’s girlfriend, 21-year-old Shanita Waggoner, was also shot in the restaurant and has undergone surgery in an attempt to save her leg.
DeEbony Groves (21)
21-year-old DeEbony Groves was a student at Belmont University majoring in social work. She was also remembered as a tenacious basketball player at Gallatin High School.
Joe Perez (20)
20-year-old Joe Perez was a patron at the restaurant who was also shot in the parking lot. Joe’s mother wrote on Facebook: “Me, my husband and sons are broken right now with this loss. Our lives are shattered.”
Taurean Sanderlin (29)
Taurean Sanderlin was a 29-year-old employee of Waffle House. He was shot in the parking lot after Reinking got out of his truck.
James Shaw Jr. (29)
29-year-old James Shaw Jr., another patron at the restaurant, is being hailed as a hero for grabbing Reinking’s gun and wrestling it away. Shaw was grazed by a bullet and burned his hand when he grabbed the hot barrel of the Bushmaster XM-15.
Now that Travis Reinking is in custody, we can hopefully get more answers about his motive and why his father decided to give him back his guns knowing that he had threatened people with them in the past.
With the red flags of Reinking’s behavior, should it have been easier to keep these weapons out of his hands? Let us know what you think in the comments.
For more stories, follow us on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.