Naked gunman kills three at Tennessee restaurant - police

2018-04-22 14:24
A man demonstrates an AR-15 assault rifle. (Allen G Breed, AP, file)

A man demonstrates an AR-15 assault rifle. (Allen G Breed, AP, file)

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A nude gunman shot dead three people and injured at least four more in the early hours of Sunday at a restaurant on the outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee, police said.

The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said in a statement that the shooting occurred at a Waffle House restaurant in Antioch, a suburb southeast of Nashville, at 03:25 (08:25 GMT).

"A patron wrestled away the gunman's rifle. He was nude and fled on foot. He is a white man with short hair," the statement added.

A following statement named 29-year-old Travis Reinking, of Morton, Illinois - a village located some 724km north of Antioch - as a person of interest. Police said the suspect arrived in a car registered to Reinking.

READ: No safe haven as shootings rock US schools

They added the gunman, who had shed his coat, was last seen walking on Murfreesboro Pike, where the 24-hour diner is located.

Assault weapons ban

Local media citing police on the scene reported the gunman was armed with an AR-15 assault rifle - a weapon commonly used by mass shooters in the US, where debate over gun control is fierce and shootings are all too frequent.

Reports added at least one victim was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, located in Nashville itself.

READ: Some of the deadliest mass shootings in modern US history

AR-15 rifles were used to kill 58 people in Las Vegas last October, while Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz in February opened fire on his former high school with an AR-15 style rifle, killing 17 students and staff members.

In the wake of the Florida massacre, student survivors launched a gun control campaign - drawing hundreds of thousands to demonstrations - and businesses including Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods took measures to restrict access to assault weapons and firearms in general.

However, Congress is sitting on its hands when it comes to the issue.

Meanwhile, an ABC News/Washington Post poll published on Friday suggested that support for a ban on assault weapons has risen sharply in the past few months.

Sixty-two percent of those polled said they support a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons, up from 50% in mid-February and 45% in late 2015.

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