NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Gruesome, horrifying and emotional moments were revealed on day one of the 2018 Antioch Waffle House shooting trial.
During opening statements, the prosecution argued that Travis Reinking went to Waffle House with intent to take lives, while his defense attorneys claimed Reinking suffered from delusions for years leading up to that morning.
Officers from the Metro Nashville Police Department gave gruesome and emotional testimony about what they witnessed at the scene.
“She fell down on her butt and was slouching and looking up and not moving. I thought she was deceased, but then I heard a loud gasp come from her. I approached her and she blinked. I didn’t know if she was responsive or not. She wasn’t answering any questions. I said, ‘I need you to blink if you understand me,’ and she blinked. So, I knew she was still alive,” Officer Brett Johns explained of survivor Sharita Henderson.
Henderson was one of the survivors who took the stand on day one explaining how she tried to play dead as the shooter approached her.
“I wanted to be as still as possible, pretend I was dead. I figured if he thought I was dead he wouldn’t shoot me, but as soon as he came in the door he looked me in my eyes and he shot me immediately. He shot me three times,” she said, then showing her scars.
Surveillance video from the deadly shooting was also shown in the courtroom, prompting outbreaks from heartbroken families.
The mother of one of the victims who didn’t survive the shootings, 23-year-old Akila Dasilva, broke down as she saw some of the last moments her son was alive. She ended up running out of the courtroom and a break was called. Akila’s brother also gave tearful testimony about the last time he saw Akila alive on the stretcher.
The last person to take the stand Monday was the man who wrestled the rifle away from the gunman. James Shaw, who’s known as the “Waffle House Hero,” said a voice told him to act. Never before seen surveillance video of that intense encounter with Reinking, who was naked from the waist down, was then played. Shaw narrated the video, showing him grab the Bushmaster rifle despite it burning his hands and tossing it over the counter.
While we heard from a number of witnesses Monday, Judge Fishburn says 62 are expected to take the stand throughout the trial.
Reinking was indicted on 17 counts, including four counts of premeditated first-degree murder. His trial was delayed several months while he was treated for schizophrenia and was cleared to once again stand trial.
His parents from Illinois sat in the front row on day one.
You can follow the trial live on WKRN.com each day.