These Are The Slain Victims Of The Waffle House Shooting

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The four victims of the Waffle House shooting
Photo Credit: Screenshot

| April 23 2018,

12:09 am

Four young men and women are dead after a heinous shooting at a Tennessee Waffle House on Sunday. The killer, 29-year-old Travis Reinking, is still at large and has been added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s "Top 10 Most Wanted" list. 

Taurean Sanderlin, Joe R. Perez, Akilah Dasilva and DeEbony Groves were all young people of color with bright futures ahead of them whose lives were cut short in Sunday’s senseless act of violence. While there has been no formal word on the motivation behind these killings, locals believe it to be a racially motivated hate crime. 



Taurean Sanderlin, 29 

According to the Tennessean, Taurean Sanderlin worked at the Waffle House as a cook for the past five years. 

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Joe R. Perez, 20

Joe Perez is believed to be from from Austin, Texas, but had been living in Nashville. According to his Twitter profile, he appeared to be a hip-hop and rap music fan. 

Following the shooting, Perez's mother wrote on Facebook, “Today is the hardest day of my life. Me, my husband and sons are broken right now with this loss. Our lives are shattered.”
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Akilah DaSilva, 23

According to his family's GoFundMe campaign,  Akilah DaSilva, who went by the stage name "Natrix," was studying musical engineering at Middle Tennessee State University. The Brooklyn native had five siblings. He's described as being a compassionate, loving son and selfless friend who was a beacon of hope, love and strength in his family.  In an interview streamed on Facebook,  his family said DaSilva was eating at the Waffle House with his older brother and his girlfriend, 21-year-old Shanita Waggoner, who was wounded in the shooting. 
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DeEbony Groves, 21

In an article published by the Tennessean,  Groves is described as having been a "brilliant young woman, a hard worker and a tenacious basketball player."

Groves was a senior social work major at Belmont University where she was on the dean's list and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. 

“The entire campus community is shocked and devastated by how such senseless violence has taken the life of this young woman, an individual full of immense potential," the university said in a statement released by its communications department.

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Incidents like the Waffle House shooting have led many Americans to demand better gun control. Brave and heroic patron James Shaw Jr. was able to stop Reinking, but the 29-year-old father said he didn’t feel like a hero.

“I remember I was like 'Dang, I’m basically in a barrel,'" Shaw told the Tennessean. “There is no place for me to go.”

“When he came in, I distinctively remember thinking that he is going to have to work for this kill. I had a chance to stop him and thankfully I stopped him.”



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