Latest: Nashville gun massacre suspect taken into custody

Update 8pm:The suspect in a quadruple homicide at a US restaurant has been taken into custody, police said.

Authorities had mounted a massive manhunt for 29-year-old Travis Reinking, after the Sunday morning shooting at a Waffle House in Nashville.

More than 100 police officers had been going door-to-door and searching wooded areas, joined by dozens of agents with the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and officers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Travis Reinking sits in a police car after being arrested in Nashville. Pic: Metro Nashville Police Department via AP

Police said he had stolen a BMW days before the attack. The car was quickly recovered, but authorities did not immediately link it to Reinking.

Reinking, described as a white man with brown hair, opened fire with an AR-15 in the Waffle House car park and then stormed the restaurant shortly after 3am on Sunday, police say.

Four people were killed and four injured before a quick-thinking customer wrestled the assault weapon away, preventing more bloodshed. Reinking then disappeared, police said.

Police said about 20 people were in the Waffle House at the time of the shootings. They included people of different races and ethnicities, but the four people killed were minorities - three black and one Hispanic.

It is not clear why Reinking opened fire on restaurant patrons, though he may have "mental issues", Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson said earlier.

He was considered armed and dangerous because he was known to have owned a handgun authorities have not recovered.

Authorities in Illinois shared past reports suggesting multiple red flags about a disturbed young man with paranoid delusions.

In May 2016, Reinking told deputies from Tazewell County that music superstar Taylor Swift was stalking him and hacking his phone, and that his family was also involved, according to a report.

He agreed to go to a local hospital for an evaluation after repeatedly resisting the request, the sheriff's report said.

Another sheriff's report said Reinking barged into a community pool in Tremont, Illinois, last June, and jumped into the water wearing a pink woman's coat over his underwear.

Investigators believed he had an AR-15 rifle in his car boot, but it was never displayed. No charges were filed.

Last July, Reinking was arrested by the Secret Service after he crossed into a restricted area near the White House and refused to leave, saying he wanted to meet President Donald Trump.

Reinking was not armed at the time, but at the FBI's request, state police in Illinois revoked his state firearms card and seized four guns from him, authorities said.

The AR-15 used in the shootings was among the firearms seized.

Then, in August, Reinking told police he wanted to file a report about 20 to 30 people tapping into his computer and phone and people "barking like dogs" outside his residence, according to a report.

"There's certainly evidence that there's some sort of mental health issues involved," Tazewell County Sheriff Robert Huston said.

But he said officers returned the guns to Reinking's father on the promise that he would "keep the weapons secure and out of the possession of Travis".

Reinking's father "has now acknowledged giving them back" to his son, Mr Aaron said.

Police say Reinking drove into the Waffle House car park early on Sunday and sat there for about four minutes before opening fire outside the restaurant.

The victims who were fatally shot outside the restaurant have been identified as Taurean Sanderlin, 29, of Goodlettsville, and Joe Perez, 20, of Nashville.

Mr Sanderlin was an employee at the restaurant.

Mr Perez's mother posted a picture of her son on Facebook and asked for prayers, saying it was the hardest day of her life. "Me, my husband and sons are broken right now with this loss," Trisha Perez said. "Our lives are shattered."


Reinking then went inside the restaurant and opened fire, police said.

One of the fatally wounded inside was DeEbony Groves, a 21-year student at Nashville's Belmont University. She was remembered as an exceptional student and a tenacious basketball player.

Akilah Dasilva was also killed inside the restaurant. The 23-year-old from Antioch was a rap artist and music video producer who had such skills behind the camera that he was a favourite among many of Music City's independent musicians and recording labels, The Tennessean reported.

Earlier: Warning as manhunt for Nashville gun massacre suspect continues

Update 2.41pm: A half-naked man suspected of fatally shooting four people at a Tennessee Waffle House remains on the run, and may be armed with one of the guns seized from him last year after he tried to enter the White House to see Donald Trump.

More than 80 Nashville police officers continue to search for Travis Reinking, 29, alongside agents with the FBI, the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Reinking was wearing only a green jacket when he opened fire with an AR-15 in the Waffle House car park and then stormed the restaurant, police said.

Four people were killed and four others were injured before quick-thinking customer James Shaw Jr wrestled the assault weapon away, preventing more bloodshed.

Metropolitan Nashville police chief Steve Anderson said Reinking was last seen on Sunday around a wooded area near an apartment complex where he lived, wearing only trousers and no shirt or shoes.

Mr Anderson said it is not clear why Reinking opened fire on restaurant patrons, though he may have "mental issues".

He may still be armed, Mr Anderson said, because he was known to have owned a handgun authorities have not recovered.

The police chief added: "He's on foot. Unless he's been picked up by a car, he would be fairly close. We don't want to alarm people, but certainly, everybody should take precautions. It could be he's in an unoccupied house. We want everybody to be concerned. Neighbours should check on each other."

Nashville public schools will go into "lock-out" mode if Reinking is not found in time for classes starting on Monday, officials said. That means students will be free to move about the building, but no guests or visitors will be allowed to enter.

As the search continued, authorities in Illinois shared past reports suggesting multiple red flags about a disturbed young man with paranoid delusions.

In May 2016, Reinking told deputies from Tazewell County, Illinois, that music superstar Taylor Swift was stalking him and hacking his phone, and that his family was also involved, according to a report released on Sunday.

Another sheriff's report said Reinking barged into a community pool in Tremont, Illinois, last June, and jumped into the water wearing a pink woman's coat over his underwear. Investigators believed he had an AR-15 rifle in his car trunk, but it was never displayed. No charges were filed.

Last July, Reinking was arrested by the US Secret Service after he crossed into a restricted area near the White House and refused to leave, saying he wanted to meet President Donald Trump. Reinking was not armed at the time, but at the FBI's request, state police in Illinois revoked his state firearms card and seized four guns from him, authorities said.

The AR-15 used in the shootings was among the firearms seized.

The victims fatally shot in the car park have been identified as Taurean Sanderlin, 29, of Goodlettsville, and Joe Perez, 20, of Nashville.

Mr Sanderlin was an employee at the restaurant.

One of those fatally wounded inside was DeEbony Groves, a 21-year student at Nashville's Belmont University. She was remembered as an exceptional student who made the Dean's list, and a tenacious basketball player.

Akilah Dasilva was also killed inside the restaurant. The 23-year-old from Antioch was a rap artist and music video producer who had such skills behind the camera that he was a favourite among many of Music City's independent musicians and recording labels, The Tennessean reported.

Earlier: A nearly naked gunman wearing only a green jacket and brandishing an assault rifle stormed a Waffle House restaurant in Nashville early yesterday, shooting four people to death before a customer rushed him and wrestled the weapon away.

Authorities were searching for the 29-year-old suspect, Travis Reinking, who they said drove to the busy restaurant and killed two people in the parking lot before entering and continuing to fire. When his AR-15 rifle either jammed or the clip was empty, the customer disarmed him in a scuffle.

Four people were also wounded before the gunman fled, throwing off his jacket.

Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson there was no clear motive, but the suspect may still be armed, because he was known to have owned a handgun that authorities have not recovered.

US Secret Service agents arrested Reinking last July for being in a restricted area near the White House, officials said. Special Agent Todd Hudson said Reinking was detained after refusing to leave the restricted area, saying he wanted to meet President Donald Trump.

State police in Illinois, where Reinking lived until last fall, subsequently revoked his state firearms card at the request of the FBI and four guns were then taken from him, including the AR-15 used in Sunday's shooting as well as a handgun, authorities said.

Sheriff Robert Huston in Tazewell County, Illinois, said deputies allowed Reinking's father to take possession of the guns on the promise that he would "keep the weapons secure and out of the possession of Travis".

Mr Huston added that, based on past deputies' encounters with Reinking, "there's certainly evidence that there's some sort of mental health issues involved".

While Mr Huston said it was unclear how Reinking reclaimed the guns, Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said that his father "has now acknowledged giving them back to his son".

Phone calls to a number listed for the father, Jeffrey Reinking, went unanswered.

Meanwhile, authorities hailed the customer who intervened to stop a further bloodbath, 29-year-old James Shaw, Jr, as a hero - though the father of a four-year-old girl demurred and said he was just trying to survive.

With one hand bandaged, Mr Shaw told reporters he first thought the gunshots fired around 3.25am were plates falling from a dishwashing station.

When he realised what was happening, he took cover behind a door as shots shattered windows. The gun either jammed or needed a new clip, and that's when Mr Shaw said he pounced after making up his mind that "he was going to have to work to kill me".

Mr Shaw said he was not a religious man, but "for a tenth of a second, something was with me to run through that door and get the gun from him".

They cursed at each other as they scuffled, Mr Shaw said, and he was able to grab the gun and toss it over a counter. The gunman then ran away into the dark of Antioch neighbourhood of south-east Nashville.

Authorities said he shed his jacket nearby and police found two AR-15 magazines loaded with bullets in the pockets. He was seen walking, naked, on a road, officials said, but later was spotted wearing pants but no shirt after apparently returning to his apartment.

Another witness, Chuck Cordero, told The Tennessean newspaper he had stopped to get a cup of coffee and was outside the Waffle House when the chaos unfolded.

"He did not say anything," Mr Cordero said of the gunman, who he described as "all business".

Mr Cordero said Mr Shaw saved lives. "There was plenty more people in that restaurant," he said.

The dead were identified as 29-year-old restaurant worker Taurean C Sanderlin and restaurant patron Joe R Perez, 20, who were killed outside the restaurant; Akilah Dasilva, 23, who was critically wounded inside and later died at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre; and Deebony Groves, 21, who was fatally shot inside.

Mr Aaron, the police spokesman, said two of the wounded were being treated for gunshot wounds at the medical centre, where spokeswoman Jennifer Wetzel said one was in critical condition and the other was in critical but stable condition.

Mr Aaron said Reinking had been employed in construction and lived near the restaurant, and police used yellow crime scene tape to block public access to an apartment complex about a half-mile from the Waffle House. Reinking is originally from Morton, Illinois.

"This is a very sad day for the Waffle House family," the company said in a statement on Twitter. "We ask for everyone to keep the victims and their families in their thoughts and prayers."

Nashville mayor David Briley described the shooting as "a tragic day" for the city.

"My heart goes out to the families & friends of every person who was killed or wounded," Mr Briley said in an emailed statement. "I know all of their lives will be forever changed by this devastating crime."


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