U.S. NEWS
04/23/2018 09:44 am ET Updated Apr 23, 2018

Waffle House Shooting Victims Include Star Athlete And Local Musician

All four people killed at the Tennessee restaurant were in their 20s.

The Nashville, Tennessee, area is in mourning after a mass shooting at a Waffle House left four people dead on Sunday.

Police say Travis Reinking, 29, opened fire at the restaurant around 3:30 a.m. with an AR-15 rifle. After a bystander wrestled the assault-style weapon away from Reinking, the suspected gunman fled, naked and on foot.

Authorities on Monday continued searching for Reinking, who has been charged with multiple counts of criminal homicide.

Reinking is accused in the fatal shootings of Taurean Sanderlin, Joe Perez, Akilah DaSilva and DeEbony Groves. Police said he also injured Shanita Waggoner and Sharita Henderson.

Here’s what we know about the victims:

Taurean Sanderlin, 29

Facebook

Sanderlin was a cook at the Waffle House. He was taking a break outside, where he was shot to death when the gunman opened fire. 

He had worked for Waffle House for five years, the restaurant chain’s CEO Walter Ehmer told The Tennessean. Sanderlin transferred to the Waffle House where the shooting took place when it opened about five months ago, Ehmer said.

“The senselessness that continues to happen will not be overlooked and we will not allow the enemy to take victory,” Taurean’s cousin Tiffany Sanderlin wrote on Facebook. “We celebrate the Life he [led] and take refuge in the person he was.”

Sanderlin was a fan of rap, according to his Facebook page, and followed several rappers, including Gucci Mane and Yo Gotti, on the site.

Joe Perez, 20

Facebook

Perez, a Waffle House customer, was killed outside the restaurant. He was originally from the Austin, Texas, area, according to his Facebook profile.

“Please say a prayer for my family for today is the hardest day of my life,” his mother, Trisha Perez, wrote in a Facebook post. “My husband and sons are broken right now with this loss. Our lives are shattered.”

Akilah DaSilva, 23

Facebook

DaSilva was shot while eating inside the Waffle House. He died after being transported to a hospital. 

DaSilva, who went by the nickname “Natrix,” was originally from Brooklyn, New York, according to his Facebook profile. He was a rap artist and music video producer, The Tennessean reports.

“He had a smile that could light up a room and a laugh that would warm your heart,” DaSilva’s family said in a statement. “He embodied compassion and had a zeal for life. A loving son and selfless friend, he was a beacon of hope, love, and strength in his family.”

DaSilva’s girlfriend, 21-year-old Shanita Waggoner, was injured in the shooting.

DeEbony Groves, 21

Facebook

Groves, a senior at Belmont University, was shot to death inside the restaurant. She was a star athlete and an industrious student, according to her high school basketball coach Kim Kendrick.

“She was a brilliant young lady, very, very intelligent and a very hard worker,” Kendrick told 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.”

Groves studied social work at Belmont University, the largest Christian university in Tennessee, and was a member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, according to the university’s student newspaper.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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