Hunt for nude gunman who killed 4 in Tennessee

The gunman shot and killed two in the parking lot of the restaurant in Antioch, before entering and opening fire on patrons.
The gunman shot and killed two in the parking lot of the restaurant in Antioch, before entering and opening fire on patrons. Photo credit: AAP

A man who was naked but for a green jacket has shot and killed at least four people before a patron snatched his gun at a Waffle House restaurant near Nashville, Tennessee.

The gunman, armed with what was described as an AR-15 assault-type rifle, shot and killed two people in the parking lot of the restaurant in Antioch, a section of southeast Nashville, shortly before 3.30am on Sunday.

He then entered the restaurant and opened fire on patrons, police said, killing one and wounding another, who later died.

One diner who had hidden near the restrooms dashed out and pulled the rifle from the gunman and tossed it over the counter.

"The shots had stopped so he decided to rush the gunman, actually wrestled that assault rifle away, tossed it over the counter and, at that point, the gunman fled," police spokesman Don Aaron said.

The 29-year-old "hero" likely saved many more lives, Aaron said.

The gunman's vehicle was registered to Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, Illinois, who police identified as a person of interest in the shooting.

A search was under way for Reinking, who police believe had been living in a nearby apartment. Police said a shirtless man wearing pants believed to be Reinking was spotted in nearby woods.

Police initially reported three dead and four injured but updated this to say a total of six people were shot. Three of those died at the scene, and one wounded person died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The two injured remain at the hospital and Vanderbilt Medical Center spokeswoman Jennifer Wetzel said one was in critical condition and the other was in critical but stable condition.

Police told CNN the gunman shed his jacket before fleeing on foot. It was unclear if he had another weapon. Local media reported a second shooting nearby might be connected to the Waffle House incident.

Police cautioned that the man is to be considered still armed and extremely dangerous.

The man who disarmed the shooter suffered non-life-threatening wounds, including an injured elbow, police said, and some patrons suffered facial wounds from shattered glass.

Reuters