Waffle House Massacre and the 7 Things We Know About Travis Reinking

Travis Reinking, the man behind the deadly Waffle House incident that occurred just outside of Nashville, Tennessee, had a very troubled past that, up until now, he was always able to outrun. The shooting wasn’t the first of the incidents that questioned Reinking’s mental health. Here are seven things we know about Reinking’s past, and all of them point to mental instability.

He believed Taylor Swift was once stalking him

Taylor Swift Arrives at Oscar Party

Celebrity stalking flipped. | Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/AFP/Getty Images

In May 2016, Reinking’s parents called the police on him because he allegedly believed Taylor Swift was stalking him. According to CNN, Reinking said he believed his family and the police, along with Swift, were all involved in the harassment. He claimed Swift had hacked into his Netflix account and asked her to meet him at a local Dairy Queen. He said she was there when he arrived, but ran off when she saw him. Around the same time, his parents told police that he’d made comments about killing himself.

Next: He arrived at his father’s business and wreaked havoc on an employee. 

He arrived at his father’s company wearing a pink dress and threatened an employee with his rifle

Gun on the ground used during Waffle House shooting

He threatened an employee. | Metro Nashville Police Department via Getty Images

In June 2017, police received a call from an employee at Reinking’s father’s company stating Reinking was threatening him. He said Reinking was wearing a pink dress and holding a rifle. Reinking put the rifle in his trunk and left before police arrived. Police contacted his father after the incident, and his father said he had put the guns out of his son’s reach before this happened. There was no report about how Reinking was able to retrieve them for that incident. It’s now assumed that Reinking left his father’s business to go to the town pool, where the next questionable run-in occurred.

Next: That same day, police approached him after his actions at a public pool. 

He got in trouble for jumping into a public pool wearing only underwear and a woman’s jacket

Tremont Community pool

The pool where the incident took place. | Tremont Community Pool via Facebook

On the same day the employee threat occurred, Reinking arrived at the Tremont, Illinois public pool and dove in wearing only a woman’s coat and his underwear. Lifeguards asked Reinking to leave the pool, but he did not listen. Instead, he yelled to them that he was a man and exposed his genitals. Nobody at the pool wanted to press charges, and Reinking was let go. CNN reported that Reinking had the rifle in his car at the time, but he never removed it from the vehicle.

Next: He claimed Taylor Swift wasn’t the only person harassing him. 

He once called the police and said he believed at least 30 people were stalking him

Travis Reinking, Waffle House shooter, mugshot

He was clearly disturbed. | Metro Nashville Police Department via Getty Images

Taylor Swift wasn’t the only person accused of stalking Reinking. In August 2017, more than a year after the Taylor Swift incident, Reinking told police that at least 20 or 30 people were trying to hack into his phone and computer. He didn’t identify any of the people. He then claimed several people were waiting outside his house and barking like dogs, and he thought he was being watched. Reinking also believed people were trying to convince him to break the law. When he reported these problems to the police, the police assured him they would file a report.

Next: He caused trouble at the White House last summer. 

He was arrested for breaching a White House security barrier in July 2017

White House security barrier

He asked to speak with Donald Trump. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Less than a month before his claims of being stalked, Reinking was arrested near the White House after breaching a security barrier. He demanded to speak with Donald Trump, and refused to move from the pedestrian entrance when the police asked. Police detained him in a secured area, then arrested and charged him with unlawful entry. He had to complete a community service program, and the case was eventually dismissed.

Next: His father’s biggest mistake may have cost people their lives. 

His weapons were seized by authorities, but his father gave them back

Waffle House with police tape and people walking towards it

They were the same weapons used in the shooting. | Jason Davis/Getty Images

After the White House incident, the FBI decide to revoke Reinking’s firearms license. They seized four weapons from his home, including the AR-15 rifle used in the Waffle House shooting. They gave the weapons to Reinking’s father and asked him to put them in a secured area where Reinking could not access them. But when Reinking decided to move from Illinois to Nashville, his father returned the weapons to him. After the shooting occurred, his father admitted to police he’d given the weapons back.

Next: His last run-in with the law occurred only five days before the shooting. 

He stole a car less than a week before the shooting

Travis Reinking Waffle House shooter

They only found him after the shooting. | Metro Nashville Police Department via Getty Images

Five days before Reinking killed four people, he stole a car and outran the police. Reinking posed as a customer and got access to a BMW key fob at a car dealership in Brentwood, Tennessee, and drove the car off the lot. Police initiated a chase, but never caught him. They found the car parked in the lot of the building where Reinking lived, but by the time they realized Reinking stole the vehicle, the shooting had already occurred.

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