The Slatest

What We Know About the Waffle House Shooting Suspect

Caution tape and police officers holding umbrellas are seen outside the Waffle House.
Law enforcement officials stand outside a Waffle House where four people were killed and two wounded on Sunday near Nashville, Tennessee.
Jason Davis/Getty Images

Police said on Monday that they still had “no credible sightings” of the man suspected of killing four at a Waffle House in Tennessee on Sunday.

They warned that the suspect, 29-year-old Travis Reinking, might still be armed. Police said Reinking was last seen Sunday morning in a wooded area behind his apartment complex near the Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee.

As police continued their manhunt, they released more information about Reinking, who has run into trouble with police multiple times before.

According to the Tennessean, in May 2016, while Reinking was living in Illinois, authorities responded to a call involving Reinking, who told them he believed Taylor Swift was stalking him. According to CNN, his family also said he had made comments about killing himself. He was taken to a hospital to be evaluated. Then, in June 2017, he threatened someone with an AR-15, drove to a public pool, and exposed himself to people at the pool. Reinking’s father told police at the time he had taken four firearms from his son and locked them away, but when the father decided he wanted to move out of state, he returned them to his son. Police advised the father to lock the guns away again until his son received “mental help.”

A month later, Reinking was again arrested, this time by the U.S. Secret Service outside the White House, when Reinking attempted to cross a security barrier near the complex. According to USA Today, he said he needed to see President Donald Trump and identified himself as a “sovereign citizen” with a “right to inspect” the White House grounds. The term sovereign citizen is often used by anti-government extremists who believe they are independent from the United States and therefore not under its authority, according to USA Today. It’s not known if Reinking was using the term in this way.

He was arrested for being in a restricted area and charged with unlawful entry, according to the Washington Post. His case was dismissed after he performed 32 hours of community service and stayed away from the White House for four months. According to the Post, he had not been considered a danger.

According to the Post, after an FBI investigation, state and local officials in Illinois confiscated four weapons he owned and revoked his firearm license. Reinking volunteered to give up his guns, police said. But when the authorities arrived to confiscate the weapons, Reinking’s father was there and asked to keep the weapons, according to the Post. After he showed them his firearms license and assured them he would keep the weapons from his son, the police agreed to let him keep them. Later, the father acknowledged he returned the guns to his son. One of those guns was the AR-15 Reinking allegedly used in the shooting.

In the fall, Reinking moved to the Nashville area and started working in construction. Police said that around three weeks ago he was fired from a job, but he started another on April 16. He had not shown up for work since then.

Police said they believe he may have a pistol that is missing from his apartment.

Correction, April 23, 2018: This post originally misstated that Reinking’s apartment was in Morton, Tennessee. He lived earlier in Morton, Illinois, but his current apartment is near the Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee.