All 4 victims of today’s heinous Waffle House attack were young people of color with their whole lives ahead of them.— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) April 22, 2018
Law enforcement must view today’s tragedy as a racially motivated hate crime and an act of domestic terrorism. Hate crimes are on the rise. #TravisReinking pic.twitter.com/cJudBRowET
The horrific shooting at a Waffle House near Nashville, Tennessee, has rocked the nation. But as officials release more information on the gunman, it is his victims who are being remembered across social media.
Early Sunday morning, Travis Reinking, 29, went to a Waffle House restaurant wearing nothing but a green jacket and then opened fire at patrons and staff, killing at least four people. Two others were injured and remain in the hospital.
The deceased victims include 29-year-old Waffle House employee Taurean C. Sanderlin, 20-year-old Joe Perez, 23-year-old Akilah DaSilva, and 21-year-old DeEbony Groves.
In a statement, Belmont University, the school where Groves majored in social work, said that the victim was “full of immense potential” and that they, as well as the community, were “shocked and devastated” by this horrific act.
Belmont University released the following statement about a student who was killed in the Waffle House shooting. pic.twitter.com/iTAl13wbnH— WSMV News4 Nashville (@WSMV) April 22, 2018
Groves’ sister took to Twitter to mourn her loved one’s death.
A piece of shit walked into Waffle House today and took the lives of 4 people. One was my sister. I have so much anger in my heart right now. But I want y’all to see the beautiful face of the woman that was taken from us today! Baby girl I love you so much. I’m so sorry pic.twitter.com/1NsDadBc64— Peng Ting (@ChiomaMelan) April 22, 2018
Her Gallatin High School basketball coach, Kim Kendrick, said Groves was “brilliant,” “very, very intelligent,” and a “hard worker.”
“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,” Kendrick said.
Sanderlin, a cook at Waffle House and a Nashville, Tennessee, native, was also remembered on the social media website.
HE HAS A NAME: 29 year old, Taurean Sanderlin was a victim of a mass shooting at a Waffle House in Tennessee.— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) April 23, 2018
He was a cook at the Waffle House. pic.twitter.com/t7a2hiqX1i
Known as “T,” he had worked at the Waffle House for five years. His cousin, Tiffany Sanderlin, expressed gratitude for the support of so many online after the horrific shooting, Heavy reports.
“Thank you all for the overwhelming Love and Support over my late cousin Taurean Sanderlin the senselessness that continues to happen will not be overlooked and we will not allow the enemy to take victory,” she said in a Facebook post. “We celebrate the Life he lead and take refuge in the person he was. Again we are so appreciative and it will carry my family through this dark time.”
Perez, from Austin, Texas, lived in Nashville at the time of the incident. He worked as a subcontractor for Daryl Flood Relocation & Logistics. He was a patron and was standing outside of the restaurant when the attacker opened fire.
HE HAS A NAME: 20 year old, Joe Perez was a victim of a mass shooting at a Waffle House in Tennessee.— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) April 23, 2018
He was a customer at the Waffle House and was killed outside in the parking lot. pic.twitter.com/gR3mNJYm20
DaSilva, a musician who went by the name Natrix and who attended Middle Tennessee State University, was a lover of music who helped local artists by making music videos.
HE HAS A NAME: 23 year old, Akilah Dasilva was a victim of a mass shooting at a Waffle House in Tennessee.— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) April 23, 2018
He was a lover of music and supported local artists by making music videos. He worked at a local AT&T store. pic.twitter.com/9NTRb8jOFc
On a GoFundMe page set up for DaSilva's family, Kareem DaSilva said the late musician “had a smile that could light up a room and a laugh that would warm your heart.”
“A loving son and selfless friend, he was a beacon of hope, love, and strength in his family,” she said. “His family hopes that in the midst of this senseless act of terrorism and hate, his life will not be in vain.”
Many who mourned the victims in this senseless attack reminded online users that they are the ones who must be celebrated and exalted by the media.
Since the mainstream media won’t post any info about the victims of the racial terror attack by the suspected white supremacist #TravisReinking , I will post it.— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) April 22, 2018
Here are 2 of the murder victims Taurean Sanderlin (who was the cook at the Waffle House) and
Akilah Dasilva #rip pic.twitter.com/qATVSP7nre
Last night, a white gunman killed four innocent, unarmed people of color with an assault rifle in a Tennessee Waffle House.— jordan (@JordanUhl) April 23, 2018
The victims—Akilah Dasilva, DeEbony Groves, Joe Perez & Taurean Sanderlin—have gone unacknowledged by the Trump White House.#SayTheirNames pic.twitter.com/BWDvCTz1GW
Media:— Theresa Searcaigh (@TSearcaigh) April 23, 2018
You are telling psychos that it's never been more popular to become a mass-murderer by using the shooter's name and photo for every headline (instead of the victims) and making news stories about the love letters & money donations Nikolas Cruz is getting in prison.
So let us honor the lives of Sanderlin, Perez, DaSilva, and Groves. Let their names become synonymous with hope for change in the ongoing fight against gun violence.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters/Harrison McClary