Acting Mayor of Nashville David Briley called for more gun control measures on Sunday, hours after 29-year-old Travis Reinking of Morton, Illinois allegedly shot and killed four people at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee in the early hours of Sunday morning.
More casualties were avoided when 29-year-old David Shaw, Jr., a customer inside the Waffle House, confronted the alleged attacker, wrestling his gun away from him. Reinking, who was clad only in a jacket at the time, removed the jacket and ran naked away from the scene of the crime. He remains at large.
Briley’s first response came in this statement released by his office:
“It’s a tragic day for our city anytime people lose their lives at the hands of a gunman. My heart goes out to the families and friends of every person who was killed or wounded in this morning’s shooting. I know all of their lives will be forever changed by this devastating crime.”
“There’s clearly more to be said about these circumstances, but for now I ask Nashville to pray for and rally around these victims and join me in thanking the Metro Nashville Police Department as it works to find and apprehend the shooter.”
But at a press conference a few hours later on Sunday, Briley added a more politicized call for gun control, one his critics see as a blatant attempt to bolster his standing with his far left progressive base.
Briley is the only major candidate in the May 24 special mayoral election who supports the controversial $9 billion mass transit plan on the ballot May 1, and this new call for gun control may be Briley’s effort to change the public conversation in that election.
“We need comprehensive gun reform to address mass shootings, domestic shootings, accidental shootings, and homicides,” Briley said in a statement he read at the press conference, adding:
If we can all just come together, for this and the greater good, we can take these weapons of war off the streets of our country.
I know, that we all want to live in a safe environment that allows everyone to go to work or school, and feel and be safe. We all want to live up to our greatest potential, and its my responsibility as Mayor of Nashville to try and make that happen.”
Clearly, the victims of this shooting deserve our prayers and our thoughts, but they also deserve leaders who will step up and take action, and do something to get these weapons off our streets.
“For a moment, let’s be honest about what happened. Last night, innocent Nashvillians were terrorized by a man with an AR-15. Let’s be honest. Some people see these weapons as having a purpose of terrorizing other people. It’s happening too much. Enough is enough,” Briley concluded.
You can watch the press conference here:
Briley’s leading opponent in the mayoral election, former Vanderbilt professor Carol Swain, criticized him for acting on progressive political opportunism.
— Dr. Carol M. Swain (@carolmswain) April 22, 2018
“Authorities in Tazewell County, Illinois, said their last interaction with Reinking came in May 2016. That’s when EMS were called to a CVS parking lot where he was allegedly threatening to kill himself,” WKRN reported:
According to reports, family said Reinking was having delusions involving Taylor Swift.
Family members told authorities at the time he believed the superstar was stalking and harassing him. He also believed his parents and police were involved.
“The 29-year-old suspect in a shooting early Sunday at a restaurant in Nashville that left four dead was arrested last year by the U.S. Secret Service for being in a restricted area near the White House,” the Associated Press reported:
Metro Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron said Travis Reinking’s firearms authorization was then revoked at the request of the FBI, and four weapons were seized, including the AK-15 that he allegedly used in the shooting at the Waffle House restaurant early Sunday.
Aaron said the four guns were returned to the suspect’s father, who acknowledged giving them back to his son.
Police have the AK-15 and another gun found during a search earlier Sunday. But two other guns are unaccounted for. Aaron said Reinking is still at large following the 3:25 a.m. shooting and could possibly be armed with the two guns.
Breitbart News reported that Waffle House has a gun free policy for all its stores.
Late Sunday, Swain released her own statement, in which she said the Waffle House shooting was “‘another example of the rise in violent crime plaguing our fair city.”
You can read Swain’s full statement here.