Waffle House shooting victim's family attend gun reform conference

Posted at 6:17 PM, Dec 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-11 20:46:33-05

The family of a Waffle House shooting victim has returned from Washington D.C. where they joined others in hopes of pushing for more gun reform in Tennessee and the country.

Akilah Dasilva and three other victims were killed when police said gunman Travis Reinking walked into the restaurant and opened fire on April 22nd. 

Last week, Dasilva's family was invited to attend Our National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence

Each year since 2013, the Newtown Foundation and numerous partners in the gun violence prevention community have sponsored the event on or near the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.

Shaundelle Brooks, mother of Akilah, said it was a true eye-opening experience.

"It was a place of, when you tell your story, you can tell your story and you don't have to explain how you feel because they understood. They were feeling the same the things," Brooks said.

Brooks said she will never stop sharing her son's message about ending gun violence in his community.

"There are a lot of loop holes in our gun laws and I want to make sure or be a part of the fight to better gun laws, sensible gun laws that guns don't end up in the hands of the wrong person," she said.

During the three-day conference in D.C., the family met with several lawmakers and politicians including Nancy Pelosi, Gabby Giffords, and victims and survivors of gun violence. 

Akilah Dasilva's brother, Abede, said the conference was an educational time.

"It was emotional but it was good to meet people you know that just understand what we're going through and fighting for what we're fighting for. The main thing about [Akilah] with the gun violence he was just like just put the guns down let's just love on each other," Abede said.

One image of the conference that remains in the family's mind was of a candlelight vigil. Attendees gathered in a church to remember victims killed this year by gun violence. 

"Seeing that they have to go through this and seeing my mom has to be a part of this group just made me sad," Abede said.

In July, the family filed a lawsuit against Travis Reinking's father, Jeffery, saying he should also be held responsible for allowing the gun used in the shooting to get into the hands of his son. 

"It's going on seven months, going on eight months. There's nothing being said or done as far as I know to bring any kind of charges, or anything kind of consequences towards the dad," she said.

The family said they hope to attend the conference again in the future.