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Suspect erased laptop hard drive weeks before Waffle House shooting

The man accused of opening fire on a Waffle House and killing four people cleared his laptop's hard drive less than a...

Posted: Apr 25, 2018 1:38 PM
Updated: Apr 25, 2018 1:38 PM

The man accused of opening fire on a Waffle House and killing four people cleared his laptop's hard drive less than a month before the shooting, according to the owner of a local repair shop.

Robert Hartline owns Dang It Repair on West End, which fixes various electronics including phones and laptops.

Hartline told the I-Team a customer named Travis Reinking dropped off his laptop at the shop in late March, requesting staff to wipe his hard drive.

The laptop Hartline described matches the description of the laptop police seized from Reinking's apartment on Sunday, according to a search warrant.

Reinking is now accused of killing four people at an Antioch Waffle House early Sunday morning, as well as shooting four other people.

But last month, weeks before the shooting, Hartline said no one at his shop thought twice about Reinking's request.

"Nothing was unusual about the transaction whatsoever," Hartline said.

Hartline said he did realize the customer was nervous about something when Reinking called the shop two weeks later on April 11.

"Someone who was paranoid about something," Hartline said. "The way he ended the call was super bizarre."

Reinking called on April 11 and identified himself as a previous customer, according to the recording obtained by the I-Team. Reinking started asking a technician about an issue with his laptop.

"Sorry, are you wanting to make a backup disk?" asked the technician.

"You know what I'm talking about," Reinking replied.

"I can't say I do," the technician said.

"No, that's what I'm saying, if I made a backup disk and kept that for later and had somebody analyze it, they're not going to find anything on it that you guys put there, are they?" Reinking said. "Why are you guys doing this, man? I don't get it, why….what are you getting out of this?"

"I'm not sure I understand the question," the technician said.

"You're a liar," Reinking said.

Before Reinking hung up, the conversation turned even more bizarre.

"If you'd like to bring the device by, we'd be happy to take a look at it for you," the technician said.

"Yeah, well, go kill yourself then, jump off a bridge or something," Reinking said.

At the time, employees did not call police because no actual threat was made.

But after hearing Reinking's name on the news this week, Hartline sent the audio to Metro Police.

"It was my feeling the faster we put this info out there for everyone, the faster families can deal with their pain of loss," Hartline said.

Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron said the devices seized as part of the search warrant on Reinking's house are currently being analyzed for evidence.

"There is material on the electronics seized pursuant to the search warrant," Aaron said. "Det. Chad Gish is having success in recovering material on those devices."

Hartline said he's urging people to donate to the Go Fund Me campaigns supporting the victims of the Waffle House shooting, as well as James Shaw, Jr., the main being credited for saving countless lives at the Waffle House.

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