The Waffle House shooter, Travis Reinking, was deemed unfit to stand trial.
Reinking was evaluated by Dr. Rena Isen, a forensic psychologist with the Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute. She announced her findings in court on Aug. 22. She said he is schizophrenic, has hallucinations, and doesn’t understand the court system, WSMV reported.
General Sessions Judge Mark Fishburn said Reinking needs to stay at a secure mental facility, otherwise, he could cause more harm to the public or hurt himself.
“He is ill and he needs help. I’m not angry. I’m not upset at all. He needs help,” said Di’Angelo Groves, brother of DeEbony Groves, one of the victims, via WSMV.
Fishburn said the court will check back every six months while Reinking undergoes treatment for mental illness.
Reinking is suspected of killing four people and injuring others after shooting people at an Antioch, Nashville, Tennessee, Waffle House on the early morning hours of April 22. The shooting was brought to an early end when one of the patrons ripped the gun away and wrestled with Reinking. Reinking escaped, but was discovered the next day after a manhunt, NBC News reported.
“I was discouraged to hear the current prognosis of the shooter, but I believe Justice will be served, I had to remember patience is a virtue and to walk by faith not by sight everything happens in due time,” said the man who stopped the shooter, James Shaw Jr., in a Facebook post.
Shaw described how he ended up at the Antioch Waffle House that night, in an appearance on The Ellen Show. He said passed by Reinking before the shooting occurred. He and a friend left another Waffle House that was too crowded. They had been out at a nightclub.
When Shaw first heard the shooting, he thought the plates stacked up by the dishwasher had come crashing down. Shaw was grazed by a bullet as the suspect shot through the glass before entering the restaurant. Shaw jumped at the shooter when the bullets stopped.
Shaw has had numerous media appearances since the heroic act, as his Facebook page shows. In a press conference the same day as the shooting, via CNN, Shaw said that he didn’t jump in the way of danger to save others, but to simply get himself out of Waffle House alive.
Reinking had numerous encounters with law enforcement prior to the shooting, CNN reported. Last year, he was arrested for crossing a White House security barrier and refusing to leave. According to secret service agents, he was looking to meet with the president.
After that incident and a subsequent FBI investigation, his guns were taken away, along with his firearms license. The weapons were returned to Reinking’s father, who unlawfully returned them to his son, NBC 4 reported. One of those weapons was used in the Waffle House shooting.
The Tennessean writes that even if Reinking is eventually found fit to stand trial, he would likely plead insanity. It would make sense considering his history of weird behavior and encounters with the law, and it is the very reason he has been found unfit for trial.
The media outlet also writes that public pressure could dissuade the court against such an insanity defense.