A man who was naked but for a green jacket shot and killed at least four people before a patron snatched his gun and tossed it over the counter at a Waffle House restaurant near Nashville, Tennessee, early Sunday, police said.
The gunman, armed with what was described as an AR-15 assault-type rifle, shot and killed two people in the parking lot of the restaurant in Antioch, a section of southeast Nashville, shortly before 3:30 a.m.
He then entered the restaurant and opened fire on patrons, police said, killing one and wounding another, who later died.
One diner who had hidden near the restrooms dashed out and pulled the rifle from the gunman.
Police are searching for Travis Reinking, 29, in connection with the shooting early Sunday.(Metro Nashville Police Department via AP)
“The shots had stopped so he decided to rush the gunman, actually wrestled that assault rifle away, tossed it over the counter and, at that point, the gunman fled,” police spokesperson Don Aaron said.
The 29-year-old “hero” likely saved many more lives, Aaron said.
The gunman’s vehicle was registered to Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, Illinois, who police identified as a person of interest in the shooting.
Don Aaron, public affairs manager for the Nashville police department, relayed witness accounts of how the gunman was dressed.
“As he was in the Waffle House, he was wearing only a green jacket, No pants, no shirt,” Aaron said.
A search was underway for Reinking, who police believe had been living in a nearby apartment. Police said a shirtless man wearing pants believed to be Reinking was spotted in nearby woods.
2 seriously injured
Police initially reported three dead and four injured but updated this to say a total of six people were shot. Three of those died at the scene, and one wounded person died at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre. The two injured remain at the hospital and Vanderbilt Medical Centre spokeswoman Jennifer Wetzel said one was in critical condition and the other was in critical but stable condition.
Police told CNN the gunman shed his jacket before fleeing on foot. It was unclear if he had another weapon. Local media reported a second shooting nearby might be connected to the Waffle House incident.
Police cautioned that the man is to be considered still armed and extremely dangerous.
The man who disarmed the shooter suffered non-life-threatening wounds, including an injured elbow, police said, and some patrons suffered facial wounds from shattered glass.
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