Waffle House Shooting: 4 Young Victims Identified by Police
The deceased are all under the age of 30.
Police have identified the four victims who were killed as a gunman opened fire inside of a Tennessee Waffle House early Sunday morning.
Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29, Joe Perez, 20, Akilah DaSilva, 23, and DeEbony Groves, 21 died after a gunman, who had no clothes on, entered the Antioch establishment at about 3:30 a.m. and opened fire. Four others were reportedly injured before a patron was able to wrestle the gun from the shooter. The gunman then fled.
Sanderlin, was a Waffle House employee who was standing outside when the alleged shooter, who has been identified as Travis Reinking, shot him and Joe Perez. The gunman then reportedly went inside and gunned down DaSilva and Groves.
Sanderlin was reportedly a cook at the restaurant and had been working there for five years.
“We celebrate the life he led and take refuge in the person he was," Sanderlin's cousin, Tiffany Sanderlin, wrote on Facebook. "Again we are so appreciative and it will carry my family through this dark time."
Joe Perez was from Austin, Texas, but lived in Nashville. Perez’s mother took to Facebook to express her sorrow.
“Today is the hardest day of my life,” Trisha Perez wrote. “Me, my husband and sons are broken right now with this loss. Our lives are shattered."
DaSilva's mother, Shaundelle Brooks, told CBS News that her son was a student at Middle Tennessee State University where he was pursuing a career in musical engineering.
"He meant the world to us," Brooks said. "He was humble, kind, compassionate, outgoing and very creative. We could describe him in so many words. He spoke through his creativity and he entertained the world through his music.”
Akilah DaSilva died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center after the shooting.
DaSilva's 21-year-old girlfriend, Shanita Waggoner, was injured in the shooting and had to undergo an operation to try and "save her leg," DaSilva’s family said.
A GoFundMe page has been setup in DaSilva's honor.
DeEbony Groves was a college student at Belmont University. She was a star basketball player in high school and was remembered as a "brilliant young woman."
"She was a very likable young lady," former Gallatin High School basketball coach Kim Kendrick told CBS. “She was one of three seniors on her team, and she was a great role model for the other players because of her hard work and dedication to her studies and to her school."
The Belmont University community also released a statement saying they were "shocked and devastated."
Reinking is still at large as he fled the restaurant following the shooting.
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