ANTIOCH, Tenn. (CNN) — Four people are dead and four others are injured after a shooting at a Waffle House in Tennessee early Sunday morning.
Police are still looking for the suspect, identified as 29-year old Travis Reinking of Treemont, Illinois. He was last seen walking south down Murfreesboro Pike with black pants and no shirt.READ MORE: Wildfire Sparks In Ptarmigan Wilderness Above Town Of Silverthorne
According to police at the scene, a white man, who officials believe to be Reinking, drove into the Waffle House parking lot in a pickup truck just after 3 a.m. naked except for a green jacket. He shot at customers and employees in the parking lot and inside the restaurant.
Police say he shot two people outside the restaurant, who both died, and then entered the restaurant and shot at least four more people. One of those people died on the scene and another died later at the hospital.
Witnesses described the gun the suspect used as an AR-15. Metro Police shared a photo of the gun after the incident.
Police say a 29-year-old customer may have saved many lives when he charged the gunman, who had stopped firing and was looking at the weapon.
Don Aaron, spokesman for the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, said James Shaw, Jr. came from the bathroom area and grappled with the suspect for control of an assault-style rifle.
Shaw was able to wrestle the weapon away and toss it over the counter. Aaron said the patron suffered injuries but they are not serious.
“He is the hero here, and no doubt he saved many lives by wrestling the gun away and then tossing it over the counter, and prompting the man to leave,” Aaron said.
“Had that guy reloaded, there were plenty more people who probably could have not made it home this morning,” a witness said.
After this, police say the gunman fled the restaurant, shedding his jacket on a nearby street corner. The jacket was recovered and officials say it contained ammunition.
He then went to Mountain View Apartments, a nearby complex where police think he lived, and put on clothes. A neighbor who knew the suspect spotted him wearing black pants and no shirt or shoes walking in a wooded area near the complex.
K-9s last caught his sent near the TVA lines off Murfreesboro Pike. Police believe the shooter is still at-large.
Police say people in the area should lock their doors and call 911 immediately if they see the suspect.
At this time, police believe the shooting was random. Officials say Reinking is known to both federal and state law enforcement in Illinois due to previous incidents. It is unknown why he is in Nashville and how long he has been here.READ MORE: Hector Frias-Chavarria Sentenced For Drunken & Deadly Road Rage Crash
Three shooting victims were pronounced dead at the scene. One victim was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in critical condition where they later died. Two victims were transported to Vanderbilt. One is in critical condition. One is in critical but stable condition.
Two people, including the hero, were transported to Southern Hills Hospital and released.
After the shooting, Mayor David Briley released a statement, saying:
“It’s a tragic day for our city anytime people lose their lives at the hands of a gunman. My heart goes out to the families and friends of every person who was killed or wounded in this morning’s shooting. I know all of their lives will be forever changed by this devastating crime.”
“There’s clearly more to be said about these circumstances, but for now I ask Nashville to pray for and rally around these victims and join me in thanking the Metro Nashville Police Department as it works to find and apprehend the shooter.”
Waffle House also tweeted a statement:
“This is a very sad day for the Waffle House family. We ask for everyone to keep the victims and their families in their thoughts and prayers.”
The shooting took place at approximately 3:30 a.m. at the Waffle House on 3571 Murfreesboro Pike near Pin Hook Road in Antioch.
The suspect was previously arrested by the US Secret Service for trespassing and being in a restricted area near the White House, authorities said.
In July 2017, Travis Reinking was charged with unlawful entry after crossing an exterior security barrier near the White House, the Secret Service said in a statement. Shortly after his release, Reinking was interviewed by the FBI in Illinois, where he lived at the time.
Shortly after the interview, authorities revoked Reinking’s firearm authorization and seized four weapons. One of those weapons was the AR-15 used in Sunday’s shooting, according to the Metropolitan Nashville Police.
Police later returned the seized weapons to Reinking’s father, who gave them back to his son, police said.
Reinking moved to Nashville in 2017 and worked in construction, police said. He had been fired from one job in April and began another construction job on Monday, but didn’t show up for work Tuesday.MORE NEWS: High COVID Plateau In Colorado Somewhat Dependent On Vaccines For Children
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