Man accused in Waffle House shooting enters not guilty plea
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A man accused of killing four people at a Tennessee Waffle House finally pleaded not guilty Wednesday, nearly 10 months after his arrest.
Travis Reinking has been held without bond since the April 22 attack. He was ordered to receive treatment for schizophrenia at a mental health facility and in October was deemed fit for trial. A grand jury indicted him on four counts of first-degree murder earlier this month.
The 30-year-old Reinking did not appear at his arraignment in Nashville, and his attorney entered the plea.
Authorities say Reinking was nearly naked, wearing only a green jacket, when he opened fire at the Waffle House with an assault-style rifle. Police credit a quick-thinking restaurant patron with wrestling the rifle away from the gunman and likely preventing more deaths.
Reinking was a onetime crane operator who bounced among states and suffered from delusions, sometimes talking about plans to marry singer Taylor Swift, friends and relatives told authorities.
He was detained by the Secret Service in July 2017 after venturing into a forbidden area on the White House grounds and demanding to meet President Donald Trump.
Family members of some of the victims were present at the Wednesday arraignment. Speaking after the hearing, Shaundelle Brooks, the mother of victim Akilah DaSilva, said she wants to be involved in the process of getting justice for her child, who was a 23-year-old musician. She also said she has been working on gun reform since her son’s death.
Her T-shirt bore a photo of her son on the front and the back had lyrics he had written. It read, “Forget about making a hashtag. Throw all the guns in a trash bag.”