NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CN) – Police said Monday afternoon they apprehended a suspect accused of storming into a Tennessee Waffle House mostly naked the day before and gunning down patrons, killing four before a good Samaritan stopped the carnage.
The 34-hour manhunt ended Monday for Travis Reinking, 29, who wore only a green jacket when he opened fire with an AR-15 at a Waffle House in the Nashville suburb of Antioch, Tenn., around 3 a.m. Sunday, according to authorities.
Four people were killed and four others were injured before James Shaw Jr., 29, reportedly wrestled the gun away from Reinking. Nashville Mayor David Briley called Shaw a hero who prevented further loss of life.
The suspect then fled the Waffle House completely naked, apparently ditching his jacket, and was seen Sunday near his apartment complex wearing only pants and no shirt or shoes.
The Metro Nashville Police Department tweeted shortly after 1 p.m. Monday that Reinking was apprehended in a wooded area near Old Hickory Boulevard, about two miles from the site of the shooting.
At a Monday afternoon news conference, Metro Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson said a citizen’s tip led to Reinking’s arrest. He was found with a backpack containing a gun but did not resist, according to authorities.
Reinking has been charged with four counts of murder.
Mayor Briley said in a statement after the arrest, “We are glad to know that our community will receive justice. The people of Antioch and all of Nashville can breathe a sign of relief.”
Authorities said Monday morning they had expanded the search after a resident found a laptop bag that had Reinking’s name in it in an area outside the initial search zone.
They also said the suspect had stolen a car from a nearby BMW dealership last week. The car was recovered at Reinking’s apartment complex, but he was not identified as a suspect at that time, according to police.
Schools in the area had been on “lock-out,” meaning students were free to move around the building but no guests or visitors could enter.
More than 150 law enforcement officials, state and federal, joined in the manhunt.
Authorities say Reinking, an Illinois native living in Antioch, may have mental issues. He reportedly told Tazewell County, Ill., deputies in 2016 that pop star Taylor Swift was stalking him.
He was also arrested by U.S. Secret Service last July after crossing into a restricted area near the White House, saying he wanted to meet President Donald Trump. He reportedly described himself as a “sovereign citizen” during that encounter.
Illinois police revoked Reinking’s state firearms card after the White House incident and seized four guns, according to authorities, but his father allegedly gave them back. Police had reportedly given the guns back to Jeffrey Reinking on the condition he keep them out of his son’s possession.
The AR-15 used in Sunday’s shooting was among the four guns seized in Illinois. Police in Tennessee recovered two other guns, leaving at least one handgun unaccounted for.
Shaw said at a news conference Sunday afternoon that he is not a hero. Joined by Mayor Briley and law enforcement officials, he described the moment the gunman burst into the restaurant.
“I looked back and I saw a person lying on the ground right at the entrance of the door, then I jumped and slid … I went behind a push door — a swivel door,” Shaw said. “He shot through that door; I’m pretty sure he grazed my arm. 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 said he threw the gun over the restaurant countertop before the suspect fled.
The four victims who were killed in the shooting have been identified as Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29; Joe R. Perez, 20; Akilah Dasilva, 23; and DeEbony Groves, 21. Sanderlin worked at the Waffle House, while the other three victims were customers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.