Tennessee jury convicts 2018 Waffle House mass shooter

Police captured Travis Reinking on April 23, 2018, after nearly 36 hours on the run. He was arrested for allegedly opening fire at a Tennessee Waffle House and killing four people. File Photo courtesy the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department

Feb. 5 (UPI) — A Tennessee jury has convicted Travis Reinking on all counts for the mass shooting at a Waffle House restaurant in 2018 after a weeklong trial.

Reinking, 33, was found guilty of 16 charges, including four counts each of first-degree felony murder, first-degree premeditated murder, attempted first-degree premeditated murder and the unlawful employment of firearm during commission of a felony.

The jury deliberated for just five hours before delivering its unanimous verdict, according to WKRN. He is scheduled to be sentenced Saturday and faces life without parole.

Reinking has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and had used an insanity defense to plead not guilty to the charges despite admitting he was the shooter, The Tennessean noted. He did not visibly react to the verdict.

In 2018, Reinking had stormed the Waffle House with an AR-15 rifle, shooting dead four victims and injuring at least three others before he was tackled and disarmed by a heroic patron credited with saving the lives of others in the Nashville restaurant.

Reinking fled the scene naked before he was arrested 35 hours later after a massive manhunt.

During the trial, the jury heard accounts from the survivors of the shooting and were shown letters Reinking had written to Taylor Swift and Oprah, WKRN reported.

The jury was also shown drawings Reinking had made in jail, including one that appeared to show a reenactment of the shootings and another of a spaceship with aliens above the restaurant.

The mother of victim Akilah DaSilva, 23, told The Tennessean that the verdict was the closest thing to “true justice.” The other victims were Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29, Joe R. Perez, 20, and 21-year-old DeEbony Groves.

“True justice is having my son here,” Shaundelle Brooks said. “But unfortunately, this is what we have.”


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