Nashville police confirmed that the shooter used an AR-15 assault-style rifle during Sunday morning's attack on an area Waffle House restaurant.
Four people were killed and two more were injured in the early hours of Sunday morning, when a gunman opened fire on a Waffle House in Antioch. Police suspect 29-year-old Travis Reinking, who remains at large.
Reinking allegedly began firing into the restaurant from the parking lot. He entered and continued shooting, sending shards of broken glass flying in every direction. Finally, Reinking paused long enough for one heroic patron, James Shaw Jr., to tackle him. Shaw reportedly wrestled the gun from Reinking and threw it over the counter. Disarmed, Reinking fled on foot, dropping his jacket to reveal that he was nude underneath.
Now, the police have confirmed that that gun was an AR-15 — the same type of firearm used in the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting, the Parkland, Florida school shooting and countless other mass tragedies in the United States. According to the Tennessean, law enforcement officials have successfully identified the gun left behind after the shooting. A representative from the ATF said that the gun was legally purchased in Illinois back in 2011.
Nashville's mayor, David Briley, was quick to take a stand against the assault-style rifles. He called on city lawmakers to pass gun law reform, both in a press conference on Sunday afternoon and in a statement made on Twitter.
"Everyone wants to live in a safe environment," Mayor Briley said. "It is my responsibility as the mayor of Nashville to make that happen. Clearly the victims deserve our prayers and thoughts, but they also deserve leaders that will step up and take action and do something to get these weapons off our street."
"Tragedies like today should not happen," he continued on Twitter. "This is our second mass shooting in 7 months. We need comprehensive gun reform. If we all come together on this for the greater good, we can take weapons of war off the street."
Tragedies like today should not happen. This is our second mass shooting in 7 months. We need comprehensive gun reform. If we all come together on this for the greater good, we can take weapons of war off the street.— Mayor David Briley (@MayorBriley) April 22, 2018
The AR-15 was illegal in the United States from 1994 to 2004 under the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. The law stood for ten years, but when it expired, lawmakers chose not to renew it.
The gun has been under a lot of scrutiny in the last several months, as Americans rally behind the survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in calling for an end to gun violence. Earlier this month, a federal court ruled that the AR-15 is not protected by the Second Amendment, as many firearm enthusiasts claim.
"AR-15s and [large capacity magazines] are most useful in military service, they are beyond the scope of the Second Amendment [...] and may be banned," wrote Massachusetts District Court Judge William Young, according to a report by Newsweek.
Reinking was still at large as of 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. Nashville Police drafted warrants for his arrest.