Alleged Waffle House suspected killer hit with new charges
Jason Davis/Getty Images(NASHVILLE) — The alleged gunman in the massacre of four people at a Waffle House near Nashville, Tennessee, is facing five new charges, including an attempted murder count connected to the man hailed as a hero for stopping Sunday morning’s attack.
In addition to four counts of criminal homicide, Travis Reinking was hit late Tuesday with four attempted murder charges and one count of unlawful gun possession in the commission of a violent felony, according to the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office.
Reinking was to appear in court Wednesday morning, but the hearing has now been postponed until May 7. An attorney from the Davidson County Public Defenders Office has been appointed to represent him.
Prosecutors said one of the attempted murder charges stems from an injury suffered by James Shaw Jr., whose right elbow was grazed by a bullet in the barrage of gunfire early Sunday morning at a Waffle House in the Nashville suburb of Antioch.
Shaw, 29, was honored by lawmakers Tuesday at the Tennessee State House for stopping the attack when he charged through a door near the restaurant’s restrooms and grabbed the red-hot barrel of the gunman’s weapon, snatched it from his hands, hurled it over a counter and forced the alleged killer out of the establishment.
Police said Reinking was apparently reaching into his jacket pocket for an extra ammunition magazine to reload when Shaw confronted him.
Killed in the Waffle House shooting were Taurean Sanderlin, 29, a cook at the restaurant who was on a cigarette break; DeEbony Groves, 21, an honor student at Belmont University in Nashville; and Akilah DaSilva, 23, a Middle Tennessee State University student. The youngest victim was 20-year-old Joe Perez.
Four people, including Shaw, were wounded in the attack, two of them critically, officials said.
The 29-year-old Reinking, who police said carried out the rampage wearing only a jacket with no clothes underneath, fled the Waffle House on foot but was captured Monday afternoon about a mile from the restaurant following a nearly 34-hour manhunt. He was arrested in a wooded area behind an apartment complex where he lived, after a civilian spotted him walking through a construction site and called 911, police said.
He was initially held on $2 million bail, which has since been revoked by a judge.
Reinking is on suicide watch at the maximum-security Metro Jail in Nashville, according to Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall.
“We have to protect him from the community. There are people in any community during an event like this where the tensions are high and we have to protect him from them. And we have to protect him from other inmates. That’s not easy either. We owe that to him. We also have to protect him from himself,” Hall said.
He said Reinking is being housed alone in a 99-square-foot cell and is under medical observation.
Reinking is in the same jail as Emmanuel Samson, who is charged in a mass shooting in September at the Burnette Chapel Church, also in Antioch, that left one person dead and seven wounded.
“He’ll be monitored every 15 minutes from mental health and medical staff, and correctional staff constantly,” Hall said of Reinking.
“We expect Mr. Reinking to be here a year or more, and I expect our staff will be professional and exceptional during that entire time,” he added.
He said Reinking has been alert, compliant and “fairly normal.”
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