Abede DaSilva thinks back to the early morning he and his brother were at the Waffle House when Travis Reinking walked in and opened fire.
“He was with his girlfriend, I was with my girlfriend. Me and my girlfriend went to the right, then we were in the middle of the Waffle House. And he went to the left,” Abede recalled.
Abede took cover in the restroom until the gunfire was over.
“You’ve got to understand I’m coming out of the bathroom, I’m seeing DeEbony dead, I’m seeing Joe dead, other people just shot. I’m like, I’m confused because I’m like what, random people just got shot?” Adebe remembered.
Eventually, he found his brother, Akilah, who had been shot in the arm.
“I look for my brother, and then I see him, he’s shot but he’s alive. So even though it’s a crazy situation, I was so thankful that he was still alive.”
But unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse and Akilah died at the hospital.
Now on the anniversary, Adebe thinks back to two months ago when he came face to face with his brother’s killer in court.
“Here’s a guy that’s the same age as me with mental issues and his parents knew about it and nothing was done about it. Moved down here, got his guns back, killed innocent people. Tried to kill way more than he did,” Adebe said.
Despite insanity arguments, Reinking was ultimately sentenced to life in prison without parole.
“He had different, multiple guns and he chose the one that could kill everybody fast. So, you know, it’s common sense that he knew what he was doing,” Adebe said. “Is he crazy for doing it? Yeah, but does he have a sense about what he was doing? Definitely.”
Abede said he and his family do feel like justice was served and now he can rest a little easier.
Moving forward, he hopes to advocate for stricter gun laws and mental health resources.
“Even though it’s like a bittersweet thing, to have this anniversary coming up, it definitely means a lot knowing that my brother and the other victims finally got justice. And as well [with] the anniversary’s coming up, so I feel like this fourth anniversary is very special just because they finally got justice,” Adebe said.
On Friday, the DaSilva family will hold a vigil for Akilah and the other Waffle House shooting victims, although anyone who has been impacted by gun violence is welcome to attend. The family encourages attendees to bring pictures of their loved ones and candles. The vigil will take place at 5 p.m. at Square.
Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk shared the following statement with News 2 about the upcoming anniversary:
“We honor and remember the victims of the Waffle House shooting.
For the innocent lives lost and those who were injured, the guilty verdict obtained by our office two months ago against the defendant is only partial healing. While we continue to mourn, we also work to keep our city safe.“