Tennesse, US | April 24
Without knowing who he was or what he might do, police briefly had Travis Reinking in their sights days before the deadly assault on a Waffle House restaurant.
Alerted to the theft of a BMW from a car dealer last week, officers decided against a risky police chase, knowing the car had a GPS device and could soon be located.
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Sure enough, the car was recovered the same day, outside Reinking’s apartment. But police didn’t figure out who stole it until Sunday, after the Waffle House attack. By then, police say, the 29-year-old with a troubled past used an assault weapon — the same AR-15 once taken from him at the FBI’s request — to kill four people and wound four others.
Reinking escaped on foot from the restaurant after a quick-thinking customer wrestled the gun from his grasp, and he shed the only item of clothing he was wearing, a green jacket. By the time he was captured in the woods nearby, police had searched his apartment, and Travis Reinking, suspected of killing four people in a late-night shooting at a Waffle House restaurant, is escorted into the Hill Detention Center in Nashville, Tenn. found the key fob to the stolen BMW.
Nashville Police Department Lt. Carlos Lara told reporters that a detective was tipped to the suspect’s presence by some construction workers, and confronted Reinking, who lay down on the ground to be handcuffed. He carried a black backpack, with a silver semi-automatic weapon and .45-caliber ammunition.
Reinking then asked for a lawyer and was taken to a hospital before being booked. He was formally charged late Monday with four counts of criminal homicide. A judge on Tuesday revoked his initial bond of $2 million pending a Wednesday hearing.
The arrest ended a 24-hour manhunt involving more than 160 law enforcement officers, but it left troubling unanswered questions about official responses to months of bizarre behavior before the restaurant attack, including encounters with police in Illinois and Colorado and an arrest at the White House that raised red flags.
In May 2016, Reinking told deputies from Tazewell County, Illinois, that music superstar Taylor Swift was stalking him and hacking his phone. Reinking agreed to go to a local hospital for an evaluation after repeatedly resisting the request, the sheriff’s report said.
He would make a similar claim about Swift in Salida, Colorado, nearly a year later, in March 2017, authorities there said.