Four killed in shooting at Tenn. Waffle House
A gunman wearing nothing but a green jacket and brandishing an assault rifle stormed a Waffle House restaurant in Nashville and shot four people to death before dawn Sunday, according to police, who credited a customer with saving lives by wresting the assailant's weapon away.
The gunman shot people in the parking lot before entering the restaurant, where he continued firing until a customer grabbed the rifle, Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said. Four people were also wounded before the gunman fled, shedding his jacket.
Authorities said they were searching for the suspect, 29-year-old Travis Reinking, and that they were drafting murder warrants for him. Nashville police tweeted that the pickup truck the gunman drove to the restaurant was registered to Reinking.
Witness Chuck Cordero told The Tennessean newspaper he had stopped to get a cup of coffee and was outside the restaurant when the chaos unfolded around 3:25 a.m.
"He did not say anything," Cordero said of the gunman, who he described as "all business."
Cordero said the man who wrested the gun from the suspect saved lives. "Had that guy had a chance to reload his weapon, there was plenty more people in that restaurant," he said.
Police identified the man who grabbed the weapon as 29-year-old James Shaw, Jr.
Shaw told the Tennessean in an interview that he was "just trying to get myself out. I saw the opportunity and pretty much took it."
The newspaper reported that Shaw was grazed by a bullet, treated and released.
"When I was in the ambulance to hospital I kept thinking that I'm going to wake up and it's not going to be real," Shaw said. "It is something out a movie. I'm OK though, but I hate that it happened."
Aaron, the police spokesman, said three people died at the restaurant and one person died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where two others were being treated for gunshot wounds. Medical Center spokeswoman Jennifer Wetzel said one was in critical condition and the other was in critical but stable condition.