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Waffle House Shooting Suspect Is In Custody

The Metro Nashville Police Department released a photo showing Travis Reinking in the back of a police car moments after being arrested on Monday.
Metro Nashville Police Department via AP

Updated at 4:25 p.m. ET

Nashville police say the man suspected of opening fire and killing four people Sunday at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tenn., has been taken into custody just miles from the restaurant.

Police said Monday afternoon that Travis Reinking, 29, was captured "moments ago."

Minutes later, the police released two photos of Reinking in the back of a police cruiser, his clothing torn and with scratches visible on his shoulder. Police said they apprehended him in a "wooded area."

Police Lt. Carlos Lara told reporters that officers entered that wooded area after getting a tip that a man matching the suspect's description was spotted at a construction site next to it.

Police fanned out through the woods. One detective spotted a person. "As he was walking forward, the suspect turned around and Detective Williams saw his face and realized that that is the suspect we are looking for," Lara said.

Reinking "got on the ground immediately" and laid prone, as officers placed him in handcuffs. In his backpack, they found a silver Kimber semi-automatic weapon and ammunition, Lara added.

Reinking was taken to a police station where he requested a lawyer and did not make a statement, according to police spokesman Don Aaron. Reinking has been transferred to a hospital for evaluation and will be booked on four counts of criminal homicide.

Reinking is also accused of wounding two others when he attacked the restaurant while partially nude.

Police credited a patron with tackling the gunman and ending the attack. Here's how it happened, according to NPR's Alexis Diao:

"According to Metro Nashville Police spokesperson Don Aaron, Reinking drove his pickup truck to the restaurant in Antioch, Tenn., and shot people talking in the parking lot, then continued on and opened fire inside.

"When the shooting momentarily stopped, a Waffle House customer took advantage of the moment. James Shaw Jr. told reporters, 'At that time I made up my mind ... that he was going to have to work to kill me. When the gun jammed or whatever happened, I hit him with the swivel door.' Shaw then wrestled the gun away and threw it behind the counter — prompting the gunman to leave."

Shaw has demurred when asked about his actions, saying he is not a hero, as NPR's Bill Chappell reported.

Police said that when Reinking fled, he took off his jacket — the only item of clothing he was wearing. This set off a manhunt involving at least 80 Metro Nashville Police officers as well as officers from state and federal agencies.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.
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