Nashville police respond to a fatal shooting at a Waffle House early Sunday morning. Photo courtesy of Nashville Police/Twitter
April 22 (UPI) -- Police in Nashville said the man who opened fire on a Waffle House restaurant Sunday previously had weapons confiscated after a 2017 arrest near the White House.
The shooting, which killed four people and injured two others, began at about 3:25 a.m. Sunday at a Waffle House on the 3500 block of Murfreesboro Pike, southeast of downtown, Nashville police said on Twitter.
Police added that the gunman, 29-year-old Travis Reinking of Morton, Ill., was naked at the time and left the scene on foot after a restaurant patron managed to grab his gun, a rifle.
U.S. Secret Service arrested Reinking in 2017 for being in a restricted area near the White House. Following the arrest his Illinois firearms authorization was revoked and local Illinois police seized four weapons.
"Among the weapons seized by those authorities was the AR-15 rifle used at the Waffle House today," Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron said.
Police believe Reinking's father claimed the weapons after they were confiscated and returned them to his son.
Aaron also said Reinking may still be in possession of two weapons, including a hunting rifle and a handgun.
Police identified Reinking as a person of interest in the case and said shortly before noon Sunday that authorities were drafting murder warrants against Reinking. They believe he was last seen near an apartment complex close to the Waffle House restaurant. At that time, he wasn't wearing a shirt, only pants.
Nashville police Chief Steve Anderson said authorities are unsure of the motive behind the shooting, but "suspect some mental issues."
James Shaw Jr., 29, is credited with saving several lives in the shooting after he tackled Reinking, disarmed him and threw the assault rifle he used in the shooting over the counter.
"I was just trying to get myself out. I saw the opportunity and pretty much took it," Shaw said. "I grabbed the gun and kept it down. He had one hand on it. I pulled it away and threw it over the bar."
Shaw described feeling like "a fish in a barrel" when the suspect came through the door, but quickly took the opportunity to disarm him as he stopped to reload.
"When he came in, I distinctively remember thinking that he is going to have to work for this kill," Shaw said. "I had a chance to stop him and thankfully I stopped him."
After disarming the shooter Shaw said he pushed him out of the restaurant, but didn't pursue him as he fled the scene for fear he had another gun, instead alerting passing drivers to call 911.
Shaw was taken to the hospital at about 4 a.m., where was thanked by another survivor of the shooting before being released at 7:30 a.m.
"While I was in hospital, a girl that was there said 'you saved my life,'" he said. "I didn't do it to be hero."