Hate crime? Meet the Waffle House shooting victims
As Tennessee authorities continue the urgent search for the gunman who killed four people at a Waffle House, families mourn the victims who have been identified as a student, musician and a Waffle House employee.
Travis Reinking sat in his pickup truck outside of a Nashville Waffle House and cased it before taking his AR-15 rifle and gunning down Taurean Sanderlin, a Waffle House employee of five years, and 20-year-old Joe Perez outside the restaurant, authorities said.
The NY Daily News reports that Reinking then went inside and fired off and killed 21-year-old DeEbony Groves and 23-year-old Akilah Dasilva, who later died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
In the melee, James Shaw Jr. is being hailed as a hero for wrestling the gun away from Reinking and ending the killing spree.
Family and friends are still grappling with the news of the tragic loss.
Shaundelle Brooks Dasilva’s mother said his name means: “the intelligent one.”
“He was talented, loved music,” Gifted Queen, a local artist and friend, told News Channel 5. “I can’t believe it.”
Dasilva was reportedly at the Waffle House with his girlfriend, 21-year-old Shanita Waggoner, who was also wounded and hospitalized, according to reports. He was said to be with his brother too.
DeEbony Groves was a student at Belmont University and an avid basketball player. She was studying social work.
“She was a brilliant young lady, very intelligent and a very hard worker,” said Gallatin High School coach Kim Kendrick, according to the Tennessean. “She was a very likable young lady. She was one of three seniors on her team, and she was a great role model for the other players because of her hard work and dedication to her studies and to her school.”
Belmont University released a statement saying:
“The entire campus community is shocked and devastated by how such senseless violence has taken the life of this young woman, an individual full of immense potential,” the university said in a statement released through its communications department.
“We extend our thoughts and prayers to her family and friends as they come to terms with unimaginable grief. Belmont will be offering counseling and other support services to members of our campus in the coming hours and days.”
Groves was also a member of the Tau Nu Delta Sigma Theta sorority. Another woman, 24-year-old Sharita Henderson was her sorority sister from another school and was wounded in the Waffle House shooting as well.
The Nashville Mayor David Briley has called for action to remove these dangerous guns from off the street.
“We need comprehensive gun reform to address mass shootings, domestic shootings, accidental shootings and homicides,” Briley said at news conference.
“If we can all just come together for the greater good, we can take these weapons of war off the streets of our country,” Briley said.
Reinking is still on the run.
Some are wondering if the shooting should be classified as a hate crime.
Local residents are telling me they believe the Waffle House gunman targeted victims of color on purpose and that it was a hate crime.
The victims—Akilah Dasilva, DeEbony Groves, Joe Perez & Taurean Sanderlin—have not even been mentioned by Trump – just like in Austin. pic.twitter.com/PKKDxIJ54z
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) April 23, 2018