A nude gunman shot dead four people and injured at least four more in the early hours on Sunday at a restaurant on the outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee, according to media reports. The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said in a statement that the shooting occurred at a Waffle House restaurant in Antioch, a suburb southeast of Nashville, at 3:25 am.
"A patron wrestled away the gunman's rifle. He was nude and fled on foot. He is a white man with short hair," the statement added, according to news agency PTI.
The following statement named 29-year-old Travis Reinking, of Morton, Illinois — a village located some 450 miles north of Antioch —as a person of interest. Police said the suspect arrived in a car registered to Reinking.
They added the gunman, who had shed his coat, was last seen walking on Murfreesboro Pike, where the 24-hour diner is located.
Local media citing police on the scene reported the gunman was armed with an AR-15 assault rifle — a weapon commonly used by mass shooters in the United States (US), where the debate over gun control is fierce and shootings are all-too-frequent.
Reports added at least one victim was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Centre, located in Nashville itself.
AR-15 rifles were used to kill 58 people in Las Vegas last October, while Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz in February opened fire on his former high school with an AR-15 style rifle, killing 17 students and staff members.
In the wake of the Florida massacre, student survivors launched a gun control campaign -- drawing hundreds of thousands to demonstrations -- and businesses including Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods took measures to restrict access to assault weapons and firearms in general.
1. Four dead in Waffle House shooting: Four people were shot dead and as many injured as a naked man opened fire at a restaurant in Tennessee early on Sunday, police said, according to news agency PTI.
Metro Nashville Police said the gunman was naked except for a green jacket when he opened fire at about 3:25 am at a Waffle House in Antioch, part of the Nashville area, CNN reported. After shooting, he shed his jacket and fled stark naked.
2. ‘Keep your doors locked’: Residents have been told to lock their doors and stay alert as the man is on the run.
"Keep your doors locked, keep your eyes open. If you see this individual -- if you see a nude guy walking around this morning -- call the police department immediately," CNN quoted police spokesman Don Aaron as saying.
3. 29-year-old Travis Reinking a suspect: The suspect is 29-year-old Travis Reinking of Morton, Illinois. The motive appears to be random, police said, describing the gunman as a white man with short hair.
Authorities are asking for the public's help in finding the suspect who arrived in a vehicle registered to Reinking, though he fled on foot.
"BREAKING: Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, IL, is person of interest in Waffle House shooting. Vehicle the gunman arrived in is registered to him. Gunman last seen walking south on Murfreesboro Pike. He shed is coat and is nude. See Reinking? Pls call 615-862-8600 immediately," the Metro Nashville Police Department, said, in a tweet.
4. Customer snatches gun from shooter: During the shooting at the Waffle House, a customer intervened and snatched the gun away. "The man who wrestled the gun away is a hero," said Aaron.
5. Ban on assault weapons: Meanwhile, an ABC News/Washington Post poll published Friday suggested that support for a ban on assault weapons has risen sharply in the past few months.
Sixty-two per cent of those polled said they support a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons, up from 50 per cent in mid-February and 45 percent in late 2015.