NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Akilah DaSilva foundation hosted their fourth annual vigil Friday night in remembrance of the four lives taken at an Antioch Waffle House in 2018, but this was the first time they gathered following a guilty verdict.
On April 22, 2018, Travis Reinking walked into the Waffle House on Murfreesboro Pike with an AR-15 and unleashed fire on innocent customers and employees. He shot and killed four people and wounded several others.
In February of this year, a jury convicted Reinking of the murders of Akilah DaSilva, DeEbony Groves, Joe Perez, and Taureen Sanderlin.
Reinking was found guilty on 16 charges total, including four counts of first-degree murder, four counts of attempted first-degree murder, four counts of unlawful employment of [a] firearm during [the] commission of a felony, and four counts of first-degree felony murder.
Though the guilty verdict won’t bring any of the victims back, DaSilva’s family is now pushing for change. They want stricter gun laws and more mental health resources across Tennessee.
“I think Tennessee’s relaxed gun laws are the reason we are experiencing so much gun death and injury. I shouldn’t have to stand here and ask these adults who pass these laws to not pass bills that trigger my pain,” Aldane Brooks, DaSilva’s younger brother said during the vigil.
As the years pass, Dasilva’s mother Shaundelle Brooks says she will be a voice for her son and an advocate to end gun violence nation-wide.
“I did not choose this role, but I chose to do my best at fighting for change. I will honor my son Akilah for the rest of my life. I will continue to share my reality to honor Akilah because I believe our reality has a unique power to create change that will help reduce gun violence,” Brooks said.
To learn more about the Akilah DaSilva Foundation, or to make a donation, click here.