Skip to main content

WATCH: Waffle House Shooter Travis Reinking Penalty Phase


Now that they have convicted the Waffle House shooter Travis Reinking, 33, on all charges, jurors in Davidson County, Tennessee must now decide whether he’ll get life prison with or without the possibility of parole. You can watch in the player above.

He stormed the Nashville restaurant on April 22, 2018, shooting and killing Joe Perez Jr., 20, Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29, DeEbony Groves, 21, and Akilah Dasilva, 23. James Shaw Jr. put a stop to the mass shooting by yanking the AR-15 from his hands and throwing it over the counter.

The defense maintained that Reinking lived with schizophrenia, suffering from delusions that government agents were tormenting him by breaking into his home. He even believed that pop star Taylor Swift had sexually assaulted him, they said. In this version of events, Reinking believed God told him to attack the Waffle House naked except for a green, waist-length jacket.

But by finding him guilty of all charges, jurors indicated they agreed with prosecutors, who said that Reinking understood exactly what he was doing despite the mental illness. He knew right from wrong, and based on his compliance with the officers who arrested him, he could comport his behavior to the law. In other words, he was not insane though he lived with mental illness.

The question now is whether he will ever have a chance at freedom.

Survivors and family members of the murdered victims quietly but powerfully expressed their reactions to the verdict.

At trial, prosecutors highlighted traumatic experiences of the slain and the survivors.

For example, Reinking shot Groves’s friend Sharita Henderson three times while she tried to play dead, almost severing a leg.

Groves and Henderson had been singing “Jesus Loves Me” before the shooting.

Kayla Shaw (no relation to James Shaw) said she suffered minor scratches during the shooting, but she also discussed the psychological trauma.

“That was physical,” she said. “The mental damage is forever.

[Booking photo via Metropolitan Nashville Police Department]

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime: