The man who cops believe gunned down four people at a Waffle House restaurant in Tennessee was arrested on Monday, just over an hour after cops admitted he led police on a chase in a stolen BMW days before the rampage.
The Nashville Metro Police Department said Travis Reinking, 29, stole a BMW from a dealership in Brentwood on Tuesday and led authorities on a chase before they lost him in heavy rush hour traffic.
Metro Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron told reporters cops chased the vehicle, but then opted to track the car via a GPS device.
The vehicle was recovered the same day at Reinking’s apartment complex in neighboring Antioch. Aaron said authorities did not know Reinking’s identity at the time since he did not provide identification at the dealership before taking the vehicle.
“They had no idea who the man was,” he said.
Aaron said Reinking has “exhibited mental instability,” and may still have a handgun. He urged citizens to be vigilant, adding that police are expecting to have Reinking’s photo posted on electronic billboards in the area.
Aaron also said a civilian found a soft laptop case on Sunday night near a truck stop along Interstate 24 and brought it home with him. Police said the person found a handwritten ID card with “Travis Reinking” on the bag.
Authorities believe that Reinking was in that area on Saturday night, but aren’t sure if the laptop case wound up in that area before or after the shooting.
Right now, police still believe Reinking might be in the woods.
“If he’s still in the woods, he’s been there for more than 24 hours,” Aaron said. “At some point, he has to come out for food and water.”
Aaron also said a report of shots fired Monday near a police staging area was not related to the search for Reinking, who remained at large.
Reinking, 29, who was naked during the shooting except for a green jacket and assault rifle, may have “mental issues,” authorities said. He owns a handgun that authorities have not recovered, Steve Anderson, the Nashville Police chief, said.
More than 160 Nashville officers are joined by officers from the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the FBI and ATF in the search for Reinking, who was also added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Top 10 Most Wanted list.
Reinking drove to the busy restaurant on Sunday and killed two people in the parking lot before entering and continuing to fire, police said. When his AR-15 rifle either jammed or the clip was empty, the customer disarmed him in a scuffle. Four people were also wounded before the gunman fled, throwing off his jacket.
The dead were identified as 29-year-old restaurant worker Taurean C. Sanderlin, and restaurant patrons Joe R. Perez, 20, Akilah Dasilva, 23, and DeEbony Groves, 21.
A police statement said Sanderlin and Perez were killed outside the restaurant, Groves was fatally shot inside, and Dasilva was critically wounded inside and later died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Reinking has a history of run-ins with police — including once telling cops that music star Taylor Swift was stalking him.
Authorities in Tazewell County, Ill. revealed Sunday that police encountered Reinking in a CVS parking lot on May 27, 2016 during an apparent “mental health crisis,” according to a police report obtained by Fox News.
At the time, deputies said Reinking believed Swift was stalking him, hacked his phone and had climbed a building to chase him. He also threatened to kill himself, according to the sheriff’s report.
Reinking, whose relatives claimed he had been having delusions since August 2014, said Swift hacked his Netflix account and told him to meet her at a Dairy Queen, according to the report.
A little over a year later, the Tremont Police Department found Reinking swimming in a public pool in his underwear and reportedly exposing himself. In that June 16, 2017 incident, Reinking was wearing a pink woman’s coat over his underwear at the time, and a concerned citizen contacted authorities because they believed he had an AR-15 rifle in his possession, the report said.
Investigators believed he had an AR-15 rifle in his car trunk, but it was never displayed and no charges were filed.
Last July, Reinking was arrested by the U.S. Secret Service after he crossed into a restricted area near the White House and refused to leave, saying he wanted to meet President Trump.
Reinking was not armed at the time, but at the FBI’s request, Illinois state police revoked Reinking’s state firearms card and seized four of his guns, authorities said. The AR-15 used in the shootings on Sunday was among the firearms seized.
Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche and The Associated Press contributed to this report.