Nashville Waffle House shooting: Police say Travis Reinking has been arrested

Last Updated Apr 23, 2018 9:55 PM EDT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- An intense manhunt ended Monday for a mentally unstable suspect who is accused of opening fire inside a Waffle House restaurant leaving four people dead early Sunday. Police say Travis Reinking has been arrested near his apartment after hiding from police for more than a day, authorities said.

Reinking was taken into custody at 1:07 p.m. in a wooded area less than a mile from his apartment complex, which is also close to the scene of the deadly rampage.

He was formally charged late Monday with four counts of criminal homicide and held on a $2 million bond, court records show.

Reinking was nearly naked, wearing only a green jacket and brandishing an assault-style rifle when he opened fire in the parking lot, then stormed the restaurant early Sunday, police say. In addition to the four people killed, four were wounded.  Police credit a quick-thinking customer, James Shaw Jr., who wrestled the gun away from the suspect, preventing even greater loss of life.   

Photos posted by police in Nashville showed Reinking, 29, clothed and in a police car. He appears dirty and has scratches on his arms.

Police had earlier warned residents of a Nashville neighborhood to beware of the alleged killer. More than 80 Nashville police officers searched for Reinking early Monday, authorities said. Police and agents with the FBI, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol had mounted a massive manhunt following the slayings. Reinking was added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's (TBI) "Top Ten Most Wanted list" and authorities had offered a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to his arrest.

The arrest

Reinking didn't resist when he was arrested following a citizen tip, police say. He was taken to a precinct where he requested a lawyer and wouldn't speak with investigators, Metro Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said. He will be booked on four counts of criminal homicide.

Lt. Carlos Lara said investigators responded to a tip that someone matching Reinking's description had been seen at a construction site entering a wooded area. Investigators responded and saw a pathway. They walked the path and began to spread out, Lara said. One detective noticed a man in front of him and recognized him.

Officers ordered Reinking to get on the ground, and Lara said he complied immediately and was placed in handcuffs.

Investigators cut off a backpack he was wearing and saw a silver semi-automatic weapon, a holster, a flashlight and some ammunition, Lara said. In his back pocket he had a Colorado ID that identified him, Lara said.

Nashville police said via Twitter that the area where Reinking was arrested had been the subject of aerial and canine searches Sunday and ground searches earlier Monday. His movements since the killings remain unclear.

In a tweet, Nashville Mayor David Briley said: "The people of Antioch and all of Nashville can breathe a sigh of relief."

Nashville police chief Steve Anderson called the arrest a "team effort" and praised the citizen who called in the sighting.

"It was a citizen's tip that led to this apprehension," Anderson said.

The woman who called 911 told reporters she was working near the construction site when she saw a man who looked like Reinking in the distance running behind a school and through tall grass. She said he appeared disoriented.

Shooting suspect's past

It's not clear why Reinking opened fire on restaurant patrons, though he may have "mental issues," Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson said earlier. He was considered armed and dangerous, because he was known to have owned a handgun authorities have not recovered.  

Reinking has had run-ins with authorities before. In July 2017, he was arrested by U.S. Secret Service for being in a restricted area near the White House. Reinking told agents he wanted to meet with President Trump.

Reinking's firearms authorization was revoked in Illinois and four weapons were seized by authorities, including the AR-15 used in Sunday's shooting, police said. Illinois authorities returned the guns to Reinking's father, who lives in Illinois. The father told police he gave them back to his son.

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Four people were killed in the shooting early Sunday in Nashville.

CBS News

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent Marcus Watson said at a news conference Monday that Jeffrey Reinking's act of returning the guns to his son is "potentially a violation of federal law."

Authorities say the younger Reinking moved to Nashville last fall.

Aaron confirmed Reinking stole a BMW from a local dealership last Tuesday. Brentwood police initially gave chase, but the chase was suspended due to the vehicle's GPS capability. The car was recovered the same day near Reinking's home. 

Aaron said Reinking, who arrived in the area in the fall of 2017 from Illinois, was working in the crane or construction trade. He was fired or dismissed from his job about three weeks ago and got a similar job, but hadn't shown up for work in recent days.

Before the arrest, police said a laptop case believed to have belonged to Reinking was found. Aaron said someone found the case -- along with a handwritten ID card with Reinking's name on it -- at I-24 and Old Hickory Boulevard, reports CBS affiliate WTVF-TV.  

Victims remembered

One of the fatally wounded inside was DeEbony Groves, a 21-year student at Nashville's Belmont University. She was remembered as an exceptional student who made the dean's list, and a tenacious basketball player.

"She was a brilliant young lady, very, very intelligent and a very hard worker," Gallatin High School basketball coach Kim Kendrick told The Tennessean.

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Victims that were shot dead inside a Tenn. Waffle House April 22, 2018

WTVF-TV

Akilah DaSilva was also killed inside the restaurant. The 23-year-old from Antioch was a rap artist and music video producer who had such skills behind the camera that he was a favorite among many of Music City's independent musicians and recording labels, The Tennessean reported.

"Music is my life and I will never stop until I achieve my dreams," Dasilva said on his Twitter account.

DaSilva's mother told CBS News that her son was a student at Middle Tennessee State University and aspired to be a music engineer.

He was at the restaurant with his girlfriend, 21-year-old Tia Waggoner, the paper reported. Waggoner was wounded and is being treated at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). DaSilva's family said she underwent surgery and doctors were trying to save her leg.

Police say Sharita Henderson, 24, of Antioch, was wounded and is being treated at VUMC.

Also wounded was James Shaw Jr., a 29-year-old restaurant patron who burned his hand grabbing the hot muzzle of the assault weapon as he wrestled the gun away. A Nashville native who works as a wireless technician for AT&T, Shaw said he was no hero -- despite being hailed as one by Nashville's mayor.

Shaw said he pounced on the suspect out of self-preservation, after making up his mind that "he was going to have to work to kill me."

Aaron said there is a "suspicion" Reinking may have been preparing to change his clip or magazine during the shooting and could have caused further loss of life.

"We do fully believe he had so much firepower with him ... he could have continued real devastation to the persons that survived there in the Waffle House," Aaron said.