Nashville Waffle House shooter suspect arrested

Travis Reinking was arrested in a wooded area near his apartment.
Travis Reinking was arrested in a wooded area near his apartment. Photo credit: Reuters

Nashville police have arrested the suspect in the weekend killing of four people at a Waffle House restaurant, ending a manhunt that began when the gunman ran naked from the scene into nearby woods.

Photos posted online by police showed Travis Reinking, a 29-year-old construction worker suspected of opening fire at the restaurant early Sunday morning, in the back of a police car. Looking dishevelled, he was wearing a torn red shirt and dirty blue jeans, and had scratches on his shoulder.

"Murder suspect Travis Reinking is in custody. Arrested moments ago," the Metro Nashville Police wrote in a Twitter message.

Earlier on Monday, police in the Tennessee capital said a passerby found an empty laptop case outside the restaurant, and it was uncertain whether it got there before or after the shooting, leading authorities to widen their search for Reinking.

Police said they did not know what the gunman's motive was in opening fire at the 24-hour chain restaurant.

"We don't know why he went into the Waffle House," spokesman Don Aaron said.

Asked whether the shootings were racially motivated, because all four people killed were black, Aaron said he did not know.

In Reinking's hometown in Illinois, police released incident reports about Reinking from the last couple of years. They showed he had multiple encounters with law enforcement about his delusions that people, including singer Taylor Swift, were following him.

During the shootings, the suspect was wearing only a green jacket that he shed before leaving on foot, police said. That jacket contained two clips of ammunition for the assault-style rifle used in the shootings, police and school officials said.

The killings in Tennessee's capital were the latest in a string of high-profile mass shootings in which a gunman used an AR-15 rifle. A nationwide debate on gun control has intensified since February, when a former student killed 17 people with an AR-15 at a Florida high school.