Mass shooting at Tennessee Waffle House prompts reaction locally, nationally
Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., responded after the Sunday morning shooting by issuing a call to limit civilian access to military-grade assault weapons.
“Nashville woke up to devastating news. We mourn the innocent victims and thank our brave first responders,” Cooper said.
“Many will say now is not the time to discuss change. But now IS the time. We can and must do everything possible to prevent these tragedies and keep Americans safe. That starts with restricting widespread civilian access to military-grade assault weapons.”
Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., a shooting survivor now head of a nonprofit combating gun violence, issued her sympathies to the victims and a similar call to Cooper's.
“My deepest sympathies go out to the victims of this crime and all the members of the Nashville community. We deserve the right to live without fear of gun violence. We owe it to our kids. This past year has seen tragedy after tragedy -- those you’ve seen on the news and those you haven’t. We’ve seen weapons that belong on a battlefield used to slaughter innocent Americans, including children. We’ve seen thousands more die in hundreds of communities across every state. This is not normal, and we shouldn’t accept it as normal," Giffords stated.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam shared his condolences and called on Antioch residents to be cautious via Twitter.
"Crissy and I are deeply saddened by the tragic incident in Antioch early this morning, and we mourn the lives taken in this senseless act of violence. I encourage everyone in the Antioch area to take safety precautions as Metro Police continue to search for the suspect."
Even the Nashville Predators organization -- in the midst of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs -- issued a statement via Twitter.
"Our hearts are heavy in #Smashville today. Sending our thoughts, prayers, and condolences out to the friends and family of the victims in the #Antioch shooting."
Emma Gonzalez, a gun violence activist and survivor of the February Parkland, Florida, mass high school shooting, also cited the shooting on Twitter.
"The FBI defines a mass shooting as 4 people killed (not including the shooter). Mass shootings occur in churches, in schools, at concerts, in waffle houses -- just about anywhere. Except in other countries."
Multiple agencies, including Metro Police, Tennessee Highway Patrol, and ATF are assisting in the investigation and search for the suspected gunman, 29-year-old Travis Reinking.
Police say it is unclear why the Illinois native opened fire on the restaurant, killing four and injuring three. A patron at the restaurant confronted Reinking and was able to wrestle the assault rifle away, tossing it behind the counter.
Reinking -- who was wearing only a jacket at the time -- shed the jacket at the scene, then fled naked. Agencies continue to search for the gunman.