What we know about the victims of the horrific Waffle House mass shooting

The Nashville community is mourning the loss of the four people who were killed in the Waffle House mass shooting.


                            What we know about the victims of the horrific Waffle House mass shooting

Law enforcement authorities have finally released details about the victims of the shooting that claimed the lives of four people at a Waffle House in Tennessee on Sunday. The deceased have now been identified as 20-year-old Joe R. Perez, 29-year-old Taurean C. Sanderlin, 23-year-old Akilah DaSilva, and 21-year-old DeEbony Groves.

They died at the hands of a partially-nude gunman, now identified as 29-year-old Travis Reinking, who got out of his vehicle, walked into the Antioch Waffle House and began shooting until a man courageously wrestled the gun away from him.

As of Sunday, two patients were being treated at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. One of them was listed as stable and the other was in critical condition.

David Briley, the mayor of Nashville, called the massacre a "tragic day" for the city.

"My heart goes out to the families & friends of every person who was killed or wounded," Briley said in a statement. "I know all of their lives will be forever changed by this devastating crime."

Akilah DaSilva

Akilah DaSilva, 23 (Courtesy of the DaSilva Family)
Akilah DaSilva, 23 (Courtesy of the DaSilva Family)

23-year-old Akilah DaSilva was critically injured while he was inside the restaurant. The Antioch resident died at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Shaundelle Brooks, his mother, told  CBS News her son was pursuing a career in musical engineering at Middle Tennessee State University.

"He meant the world us. 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," she said. "Akilah ... meaning the intelligent one who reasons."

DaSilva went by the nickname "Natrix", according to CBS affiliate WTVF-TV.

His family said he was one of six siblings and "hopes that in the midst of this senseless act of terrorism and hate, his life will not be in vain."

"He had a smile that could light up a room and a laugh that would warm your heart," his family said. "He embodied compassion and had a zeal for life. A loving son and selfless friend, he was a beacon of hope, love, and strength in his family."

They also added: "We hope that this tremendous loss will spark tangible action in true gun law reform so no other family would ever have to experience this sort of tragedy."

A GoFundMe page has been published in his honor.

According to DaSilva's family, his 21-year-old girlfriend Shanita Waggoner was one of those wounded in the massacre. They said that doctors were "trying to save her leg" after she underwent surgery.

Taurean C. Sanderlin

29-year-old Taurean Sanderlin was a resident of Goodlettsville and was killed outside the restaurant. He was an employee of the same.

DeEbony Groves 


21-year-old DeEbony Groves was inside the restaurant and was fatally shot by the gunman. She was a resident of Gallatin. According to CNN affiliate WKRN-TV, she was out with her Delta Sigma Theta sorority sisters before going to Waffle House.

Groves is remembered as a determined basketball player and a brilliant young woman according to local media. She was a star athlete at Gallatin High along with being an exceptional student. Shortly after, she enrolled at Belmont's University where she made the dean's list.

"She was a brilliant young lady, very, very intelligent and a very hard worker," former Gallatin High School basketball coach Kim Kendrick said of Groves. "She was a very likable young lady. 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."

Being a senior at Belmont University, she was majoring in social work.

The school's student newspaper, Belmont Vision, quoted Belmont President Robert Fisher as saying, "I am shocked and devastated by how such senseless violence has taken the life of this young woman, an individual full of immense potential."

WTVF-TV posted a statement from the institution saying the campus community is "shocked and devastated":

"DeEbony Groves was a senior at Belmont University majoring in social work. 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. We extend our thoughts and prayers to her family and friends as they come to terms with unimaginable grief. Belmont will be offering counseling and other support services to members of our campus in the coming hours and days."

Joe R. Perez

Joe Perez, 20 (Source: Facebook)
Joe Perez, 20 (Source: Facebook)

20-year-old Joe Perez of Nashville was at the restaurant at the time of the shooting and lost his life outside the joint.

His mother posted her sentiments on Facebook saying "Today is the hardest day of my life. Me, my husband and sons are broken right now with this loss. Our lives are shattered."