News World Alleged Waffle House shooter caught after a day on the run
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Alleged Waffle House shooter caught after a day on the run

Waffle House shooting suspect Travis Reinking captured
The alleged gunman was at large for more than a day after fleeing the restaurant naked. Photo: Nashville Police Department
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Authorities say they have arrested an alleged gunman who fled naked from a US Waffle House restaurant after killing four patrons with an assault rifle.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced the capture of 29-year-old Travis Reinking on Tuesday morning, a day after the deadly shooting.

Photos posted by police in Nashville showed him clothed and in a police car.

Police and agents with the FBI, the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol had mounted a massive manhunt following the slayings early Sunday local time.

Police said Reinking was captured in a wooded area southwest of Nashville with a loaded handgun found in his possession.

Metropolitan Nashville Police Department Lieutenant Carlos Lara told a news conference that construction workers told officers a person matching the suspect’s description walked nearby into woods.

He said that when confronted, the suspect lay down on the ground and officers cuffed him.

Reinking allegedly opened fire on patrons at the restaurant near Nashville, Tennessee, with what was described as an AR-15 assault-type rifle, killing one and wounding another who later died.

One diner, 29-year-old James Shaw, who had hidden near the restrooms dashed out and pulled the rifle from the gunman when he paused to re-load and tossed it over the counter.

Police said Reinking shed his jacket before fleeing naked on foot. 

“Had that guy had a chance to reload his weapon, there was plenty more people in that restaurant,” witness Chuck Cordero said.

Reinking, originally from Illinois, was known to police and was believed to have  been living in an apartment near the Waffle House.

Local media reported that Reinking was previously arrested by the US Secret Service in July 2017 on charges that he was in an unauthorised area outside the White House.

Four of Reinking’s guns, including the AR-15 rifle he allegedly used Sunday, were seized following the arrest.

He was reportedly interviewed by local and federal authorities and his Illinois firearms authorisation was revoked.

Reinking’s four guns were given to his father, who has said he gave them back to his son, according to the authorities.

Police said Mr Shaw — who was grazed by a bullet before his tussle with the shooter — saved many lives.

Mr Shaw said he and another friend were seated at a counter when he heard gunshots, thinking at first that a stack of plates had crashed down.

waffle house shooting hero james shaw
Mr Shaw burned his hand when he grabbed the barrel of the shooter’s gun. Photo: AP

Then, he said, restaurant workers scattered and he turned and saw a body near the front door as the gunman burst in.

It was then he realised he had heard gunshots so he jumped up and went behind a swivel door, Mr Shaw said.

“He shot through that door; I’m pretty sure he grazed my arm.

“At that time I made up my mind … that he was going to have to work to kill me.”

Mr Shaw said it was then they began wrestling, and he ignored his own pain as he grabbed the hot barrel of the AR-15 weapon.

-with agencies

 

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