Lawyers want gag order lifted on Waffle House shooting case

New details linking suspect to restaurant in the past
Waffle House Shooting Suspect Due In Court
Posted at 3:11 PM, Oct 07, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — What is the case against the accused Waffle House shooter? Travis Reinking has been locked up now for more than three years awaiting trial.

For the first time in months, the case was back in court Thursday. The basic details of the Waffle House shooting are known, but much of the evidence for the prosecution remains under seal — it's something of a mystery.

"We can't even talk to the police officer involved because of the gag order," said Phil Elbert, an attorney for one of the Waffle House victims in a civil lawsuit.

Judge Mark Fishburn granted Elbert's request to modify the gag order.

"My concern is to just minimize the publicity before trial," said Judge Fishburn.

So now, attorneys in the civil cases will be allowed access to the evidence files. They've actually already done some of their own research, and Elbert did share one revelation about Reinking not heard before.

"We've developed some evidence, for example, from from credit card receipts that he perhaps was at that Waffle House before," said Elbert.

The 32-year-old Reinking is accused of killing four people at an Antioch Waffle House in April of 2018.

If he had been at the restaurant before, that could lead to potential motive for the shooting.

Reinking is not saying.

NewsChannel 5 obtained his jail logs, which show Reinking spends his days talking with family and lawyers. He also rents movies, including Apollo 13 and The America President.

Reinking has only spoken publicly one time, calling NewsChannel 5's Nick Beres from his jail cell two years ago.

"About what I'm thinking and what I'd like to say on my behalf and stuff like that," said Reinking at the time.

When asked if he was mentally fit, Reinking responded that he was "perfectly healthy."

Of course, Reinking's state of mind will be key, since it's expected he will claim diminished capacity or insanity.

Evidence for or against that defense will remain sealed for all but a few until trial.

Remember, the lifting of this gag order is limited. The general public and the news media will not learn more about the case until trial.

The trial is expected to happen in February of next year. In the meantime, Reinking remains locked up in the Davidson County Jail.

The district attorney has already said he will not seek the death penalty in the case.