Waffle House Shooter Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Possibility of Parole

Travis Reinking received multiple life sentences after he was found guilty on eight counts of murder

Travis Reinking on Thursday formally raised his right to testify in the trial against him. He was sworn in around 2 p.m. while the jury was out of the courtroom, confirmed he had been informed of his rights and intended to waive them in court on day four of the mass murder trial at Justice A.A. Birch Building Waffle House Shooting, Nashville, United States - 03 Feb 2022
Photo: Stephanie Amador/AP/Shutterstock

Travis Reinking, the man who was found guilty of murdering four people in a shooting spree at a Nashville Waffle House in 2018, was sentenced on Saturday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

According to the Associated Press, jurors handed down four life sentences after Reinking, 33, was found guilty on 16 charges, including eight counts of murder, four counts of attempted first-degree murder and four counts of unlawful employment of a firearm during the commission of or attempt to commit a dangerous felony.

He had previously pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity due to his schizophrenia diagnosis.

CNN reports that while the jury heard about two hours of emotional testimony from the relatives of the four people killed, the defendant still appeared detached.

Waffle House employee Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29, as well as restaurant patrons DeEbony Groves, 21, Akilah DaSilva, 23, and Joe R. Perez, 20, were among those gunned down by Reinking during the early morning hours of April 22, 2018.

"Our lives were completely destroyed," said Joe's mother, Patricia Perez, according to CNN.

"This has broken me, not just my spirit, not just my family, but also my mind," she added, through tears. "This has broken me mentally."

RELATED VIDEO: 4 People Dead After Shooting in Nashville Waffle House

DaSilva's mother, Shaundelle Brooks, said she is tortured by the constant replaying of the moment she learned her son was killed.

"Every morning before I even get out of my bed I relive that night in my head," she told the jury. "My son Akilah was a beautiful soul who perfected how to be a son. My sweet baby, my angel, my son was robbed of his life."

"He loved his family, but most of all Akilah wanted to live," Brooks added. "He wanted to create positive change in this world. He showed compassion, not anger. He spread love, not hate."

In addition to the four people killed, Reinking also injured Sharita Henderson, Shantia Waggoner, Kayla Shaw and James Shaw Jr. (The two are not related.)

Shaw Jr. is credited with likely saving many lives, after he wrestled the assault-style rifle out of the hands of the gunman, who wore nothing but a green jacket at the time of the incident.

During a 2018 appearance on Today, Shaw Jr. said that when he saw the shooter lower the barrel of the gun, "I saw my opportunity and I attacked."

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After a scuffle, Shaw Jr. explained that he was able to rip the AR-15 out of the hands of Reinking and throw it over the counter.

He then wrestled the gunman outside.

"I didn't know if he had another weapon like a knife or he might have a handgun, but I knew if I could get outside I would be alright," he added.

After the struggle, Reinking fled. He was arrested the next day following a manhunt.

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