NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A jury found Travis Reinking guilty in the mass shooting that claimed the lives of four people at an Antioch Waffle House in April 2018.
Reinking was found guilty on all 16 charges:
1st-degree premeditated murder: 4 countsAttempted 1st-degree premeditated murder: 4 countsUnlawful employment of firearm during commission of a felony: 4 counts1st-degree felony murder: 4 counts
Deliberation began Friday afternoon. The jury reached their verdict just a few hours later. Reinking stood nearly still with little to no show of emotion as the verdict was read in the courtroom.
The next phase of the trial will come Saturday morning, as the jury will sentence Reinking to life with or without parole.
Nearly four years after the shooting, the trial filled with emotional testimony has ended with a modicum of closure for the victims’ families and survivors. Four people were killed — DeEbony Groves, 21, Akilah Dasilva, 23, Taurean Sanderlin, 29, and Joe Perez, 20 — in the early morning hours of April 22, 2018. Four others were injured.
Reinking pulled up to the Waffle House on Murfreesboro Pike, naked and armed with an AR-15, and opened fire.
Surveillance video of the ‘Waffle House Hero’ shows intense moments he wrestled rifle away from suspect
Out of the horror, arose an act of heroism. A man tackled the gunman and prevented more carnage inside the restaurant and throughout the community by disarming Reinking. James Shaw Jr. was the hero Nashville needed that day and for months to come.
An intense manhunt followed for Reinking after the quadruple murder. Law enforcement officers searched tirelessly through often rainy weather, in wooded terrain, in and around the Antioch area. Thirty-four hours later, Reinking was captured and was taken into police custody.
Reinking’s trial was stalled after he was diagnosed with severe schizophrenia and treated at a state mental health institute. He was then ruled competent to stand trial, which began Monday.
During opening statements, the prosecution argued Reinking went to Waffle House with intent to take lives, while his defense attorneys claimed he suffered from delusions for years leading up to that morning. On day two, jurors heard chilling details from those who survived the 2018 shooting.
Letters he had written were read in court Wednesday. The letters were in a safe, taken as evidence from Reinking’s apartment — one to Taylor Swift and the other to Oprah. Reinking told a psychologist it was “a sign from God” that led him to the Antioch Waffle House. Jurors heard Reinking’s voice for the first time on Thursday, as they watched a portion of a 13-minute video YouTube video from a series he made.
The courtroom was also shown two images Reinking drew while in jail. The first drawing appears to depict a reenactment of the shootings. A second picture was similar in nature but included a spaceship with aliens above the Waffle House.
During much of the trial, Reinking watched the proceedings with no emotion as his parents and uncle were in attendance. Family members of the victims and survivors, including James Shaw, Jr., attended every day of the trial.
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