News Analysis |
An American right-wing extremist is at large after perpetrating a shooting that left 4 people dead early Sunday. This latest horrifying incident highlights the continuing dilemma posed by a nexus of right-wing extremism and lax gun laws in the United States.
Police believe the suspect in a shooting that killed four people at a Waffle House early Sunday could be armed with two guns, despite the fact that authorities seized his firearms following a 2017 arrest. Metro police released the details Sunday afternoon, as a manhunt continued for the suspect, Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, Illinois. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced Sunday afternoon Reinking was added to the agency’s top 10 most wanted list.
After sweeping the scene and Reinking’s apartment, police have the AR-15 and a second gun, but they have not been able to find the two others, which police described as a hunting rifle and a handgun.
The dismaying development comes hours after a gunman opened fire around 3:25 a.m at a Waffle House in Antioch. Police identified Reinking as the suspect and said he lived in an Antioch apartment complex. The suspect first fired from the parking lot, shooting two men and shattering the glass window at the front of the restaurant before going inside and continuing to pelt the restaurant with bullets, according to police.
At least four people were killed and four others wounded Sunday when the gunman opened fire until a patron wrestled the gun away, according to Metro Nashville Police. Eight people were hospitalized after the shooting, six of them with gunshot wounds.
Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, Ill., was initially named as a person of interest, and the vehicle the gunman arrived in is registered to him. Later, Aaron said Reinking matches the description of the gunman and was being treated as a suspect.
Four of Reinking’s guns, including the AR-15 rifle police, said he used Sunday, were seized after he was arrested by the U.S. Secret Service in July 2017 on charges that he scaled a fence near the White House. Following the arrest, Reinking was interviewed by local and federal authorities and his Illinois firearms authorization was revoked.
Metro police released the details Sunday afternoon, as a manhunt continued for the suspect, Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, Illinois.
Reinking’s four guns were given to his father, who has said he gave them back to his son, according to the authorities. After sweeping the scene and Reinking’s apartment, police have the AR-15 and a second gun, but they have not been able to find the two others, which police described as a hunting rifle and a handgun.
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“There is a chance that Reinking at this moment is at large with two other weapons,” police spokesman Don Aaron said. In 2017, the U.S. Secret Service arrested Reinking for being in a “restricted area” near the White House, according to Nashville police. After the arrest, his Illinois firearms authorization was revoked and local Illinois police seized four weapons.
“Among the weapons seized by those authorities was the AR-15 rifle used at the Waffle House today,” said Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron at a Sunday afternoon news conference.
Police believe Reinking’s father received the weapons after their confiscation and returned them to his son. Police announced Sunday morning they are drafting murder warrants for Reinking. At the White House, Reinking had declared himself a “sovereign citizen” who is not required to follow the nation’s laws.
On August 16, 2012, two sheriff’s deputies were shot to death and two others seriously wounded after having been ambushed near LaPlace, Louisiana.
The sovereign citizen movement is a loose grouping of American, Canadian and Australian litigants, commentators, tax protesters, and financial-scheme promoters. Self-described “sovereign citizens” see themselves as answerable only to their particular interpretation of the common law and as not subject to any government statutes or proceedings. In the United States, they do not recognize United States currency and maintain that they are “free of any legal constraints”. They especially reject most forms of taxation as illegitimate. Participants in the movement argue this concept in opposition to the idea of “federal citizens”, who, they say, have unknowingly forfeited their rights by accepting some aspect of federal law. The doctrines of the movement resemble those of the freemen on the land movement more commonly found in the Commonwealth, such as in Britain and in Canada.
The FBI says that sovereign citizens are “anti-government extremists who claim the federal government is operating outside its jurisdiction and they are therefore not bound by government authority—including the courts, taxing entities, motor vehicle departments, and even law enforcement.”
The movement has a history of violence of which a few are the following. In May 2010, two police officers in West Memphis, Arkansas, were shot and killed by Joseph T. Kane after Kane and his father were the subject of a traffic stop. Kane and his father were later identified as members of the sovereign citizen movement. On June 20, 2012, another member Anson Chi was arrested by federal authorities for allegedly trying to blow up a natural gas pipeline in a residential area of Plano, Texas. On August 16, 2012, two sheriff’s deputies were shot to death and two others seriously wounded after having been ambushed near LaPlace, Louisiana. Authorities arrested seven suspects, two of whom have been identified by law enforcement as members of a sovereign citizen’s group.
Sunday’s violence took place less than two miles from the September mass shooting at an Antioch church, where one person died and nine were injured after Emanuel Samson opened fire during Sunday morning services.