As some 160 law enforcement officers, local, state and federal were hunting suspect Travis Reinking in connection with the mass shooting at an Antioch Waffle House in the early hours of Sunday morning, a police investigation into a car theft in a town 8 miles away would link the two crimes, albeit one far more serious and consequential than the other. But it would raise questions.
Reinking, 29, who was captured at 1 p.m. Monday, after 33 hours on the run, was being charged with four counts of murder by Metro Nashville Police. Other charges are likely. A total of six people were shot; three victims were pronounced dead at the scene, one victim then died at the hospital and two are currently hospitalized in stable condition, according to authorities.
Dead are Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29, of Goodlettsville, who worked at the Waffle House, fatally shot while on his break outside the restaurant and Joe Perez, a 20-year-old diner from Nashville, was also killed outside the restaurant. Akilah Dasilva, 23, of Antioch, and DeEbony Groves, 21, of Gallatin, were both shot inside the restaurant. Groves died at the scene; Dasilva was rushed to the hospital but was later pronounced dead.
James Shaw Jr., hailed as a hero, wrested the gun from Reinking, saving the lives of some 30 people inside the restaurant.
Five days before the slaughter at the popular late night diner, on Tuesday April 17 shortly before 6 p.m., police said Reinking stole a car in nearby Brentwood and took cops from that town on a chase, a pursuit that was abandoned once he crossed into another community, as is the police department’s practice. The car, a 2018 BMW, was equipped with GPS so police figured they’d find it. And they did. At Reinking’s apartment complex. What they didn’t know was who, if any, of the residents were responsible. And it wouldn’t be until after the mass shooting, when police searched his apartment, they’d find the key fob for the BMW in Reinking’s apartment.
Brentwood Police explained in a statement:
“The Brentwood, Tennessee Police Department is investigating a vehicle theft from BMW of Nashville, which occurred on Tuesday April 17, 2018. Brentwood Police have since learned that the suspect in the vehicle theft earlier in the week, believed to be Travis Reinking, the suspect identified in the Sunday April 22 mass shooting at the Waffle House in Antioch.
A 2018 BMW X6 was stolen from the dealership located at 1568 Mallory Lane on Tuesday, April 17 at approximately 5:40 pm. A white male suspect posed as a customer, stole a vehicle key fob from a salesperson and drove away from the dealership. This suspect refused to provide identification to employees.
Brentwood Police officers located the stolen vehicle travelling eastbound on Concord Road near Wilson Pike and tried to stop the vehicle. The driver kept driving east on Concord Road and ignored officer’s lights and sirens to pull over. The pursuit was terminated near Edmondson Pike, in accordance with Brentwood Police policy and (given) the stolen vehicle was equipped with a GPS tracking device (police would be able to retrieve it.)
Later that evening, Metro Nashville Police Department officers found the stolen BMW at an apartment complex located at 5000 Mountain Springs Dr. in Antioch. The vehicle was unoccupied and processed for fingerprints.
MNPD officers found the stolen vehicle key fob Sunday April 22 when they searched Reinking’s apartment, following the early Sunday morning shooting at the Waffle House on Murfreesboro Pike.
Charges are pending for Reinking.
Earlier Monday, numerous local media reported the car theft, but the pursuit video, photo of suspect Reinking at the car dealership and full statement were issued later.