Waffle House Shooting Victims Were All People Of Color Under 30

Four young, kind, and hard-working young Americans lost their lives in Sunday's horrific Waffle House shooting.

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.

Groves’ sister took to Twitter to mourn her loved one’s death.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Instead of focusing on the gunman and, once again, creating a celebrity culture around a sick mass murderer, we must remember how kind and honorable those whose lives were taken were.

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

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