Waffle House shooter once arrested by Secret Service near White House
The man suspected of killing four people at a Waffle House in Nashville on Sunday was previously arrested by the US Secret Service for trespassing and being in a restricted area near the White House, authorities said.
In July 2017, Travis Reinking told a uniform Secret Service officer that he must get into the White House to speak with the President, according to an arrest report. The officer explained that he must get a tour to do that and told Reinking to move away from the pedestrian entrance, but the report states Reinking told the officer again that he had to speak with the President and that he was a “sovereign citizen” who had a right to inspect the grounds. After telling Reinking to move again, the report states that Reinking took his tie off, balled it into his fist, began approaching the officer and walked past the security barriers.
“Do what you need to do. Arrest me if you have to,” Reinking said, according to the report.
Reinking was detained but refused to leave the secured area, so he was arrested and charged with unlawful entry, the report states.
According to court records, Reinking entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with community service on July 26, 2017. On November 17, 2017, the court determined Reinking had successfully completed the program and the case was dismissed.
Shortly after his release, Reinking was interviewed by the FBI in Illinois, where he lived at the time.
Tazewell County, Illinois, authorities revoked Reinking’s firearm authorization and seized four weapons after the interview. According to a report from the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office, authorities seized a Kimber 9 mm handgun, a Bushmaster AR-15 style rifle, a CZ-USA .22-caliber rifle, a Remington 710 and random ammunition. The AR-15 style rifle listed was the same weapon used in Sunday’s Waffle House shooting, which killed four people, according to the Metropolitan Nashville Police.
Police later returned the seized weapons to Reinking’s father, Jeffrey Reinking, and told him to keep the weapons secure and away from his son. However, Nashville police learned Sunday that Jeffrey acknowledged giving the guns back to his son, police said.
Reinking moved to Nashville in 2017 and worked in construction, police said. He had been fired from one job in April and began another construction job on Monday, but didn’t show up for work Tuesday.
On Sunday, police said a gunman arrived at Waffle House in a vehicle registered to Reinking. After sitting in the truck for a few minutes, the gunman came out wielding an “assault-type rifle” and fatally shot two people outside the Waffle House, police said.
Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron said the gunman then went inside the restaurant and continued firing. Some witnesses suffered cuts on their faces from shattered windows. Two more victims inside the restaurant were fatally shot.
The shooting ended when a patron was able to wrestle the weapon away from the gunman, who then ran away.
Authorities said Sunday that they were drafting murder warrants against Reinking. Nashville police are asking residents to lock their doors and stay alert as they continue to search for the gunman.
The motive for the shooting remains unclear.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the type of officer Reinking encountered near the White House. It was a US Secret Service officer.