Police report: Waffle House shooting suspect frightened Knoxville woman at Alcoa motel

Local News

A Knoxville woman had a run-in with accused Antioch Waffle House shooter Travis Reinking earlier this year at a motel in Alcoa, according to a police report.

“I could tell when I was face to face with him that something was wrong with him,” Samantha Veals said. “He was pretty crazy.”

Veals, 33, said in February, Reinking was outside her motel room yelling as she was trying to put her two children down to sleep. When she asked him to be quiet, things quickly escalated.

“He was right there by that white truck, literally ran into our hotel room and tried to hit me… acted like he was going to put his hands on me,” Veals said to an officer in police video.

Body cam footage shows Veals and Reinking detailing their respective sides of the story to police.

“Hey man, what’s going on?” the officer asked Reinking.

“How’s it going?” Reinking replied in the lobby of the Alcoa Inn. “I don’t know. I’m trying to get a refund.”

Reinking told the officer he never came in Veals’s room or threatened her. He said he was in the process of getting his money back so that he could stay elsewhere.

“I got like four hours of sleep last night,” Reinking told the officer. “People stay up and make noise all night.”

He eventually did leave the hotel, so Veals never pressed charges, something the mother of two now says she regrets.

“That probably could have been me and my kids,” Veals said. “I’m kind of beating myself up for not pressing charges against him. That’s the main reaction right now.  I’m also thankful we are still here… and that he didn’t harm my kids. I mean he was in my room. He could have done whatever he wanted to us, knowing what kind of monster he is.”

Reinking is charged with four counts of criminal homicide after police say he showed up without pants at a Waffle House restaurant near Nashville and killed four people with an assault-style rifle.. He’s been jailed without bond.

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