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Flowers and grits as Waffle House reopens after Nashville killings– Sales to benefit victims’ families

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The Waffle House restaurant in Nashville where a gunman killed four people reopened on Wednesday for the first time since the weekend attack, filling up with customers ordering breakfasts as a makeshift memorial of flowers piled up outside.

The closely held chain brought in extra staff from other locations and corporate offices to serve grits, eggs and waffles to a steady stream of customers, including many making their first visit in a display of solidarity for the victims.

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Eric Puschmann, a pastor at the nearby Free Will Baptist church, joined staff for prayers before the restaurant opened, he said.

“They have good strong hearts,” said Puschmann, 37. “There were tears of pain and tears of laughter.”

The suspect in the shooting, Travis Reinking, used an AR-15 rifle to kill two people inside and two people outside the restaurant before a bystander knocked him down, sending him fleeing, police said. Reinking, 29, was jailed on Monday after a manhunt lasting more than 30 hours. He faces charges of murder and attempted murder in court next month.

At the Waffle House, Michael Ritchey walked by the makeshift shrine outside and ordered an omelet.

“I look around and see people back here today,” said Ritchey, a 40-year-old healthcare consultant. “This is awesome. I have a lump in my throat.”

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Some patrons came because they saw the restaurant had promised to donate all proceeds made in the next 30 days to the victims’ families.

Also on Wednesday, more details emerged of the suspect’s paranoid tendencies as a Nashville computer repair store released audio of an angry phone call Reinking had with a confused customer-service representative.

Reinking already had a history of bizarre encounters with law enforcement, and relatives in his Illinois hometown and former colleagues in the crane-operator business have told police of his delusional beliefs that the singer Taylor Swift is hacking his electronics and stalking him.

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Reinking had visited the Dang It Repair store in March, saying he believed his laptop had been hacked and he had messed it up trying to fix it, the store’s owner, Robert Hartline, said in an interview on Wednesday. Staff reset the machine and returned it the next day.

Two weeks later, a man identifying himself as Reinking called back, according to a recording of the call released by the store. Reuters did not independently verify the recording’s authenticity.

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 The conversation took an unusual turn after he asked a customer representative about an issue with his laptop.
Reinking seemed to suggest the store put something on his computer.

“Why are you guys doing this, man? I don’t get it. What are you getting out of this?” he said.

“I’m not sure I understand the question,” the representative said.

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“You’re a liar,” Reinking said.

The representative suggested he bring the computer to the store.

“Yeah, well, go kill yourself then, jump off a bridge or something,” the man responds, according to the audio recording posted online by the Dang It Repair store.

 Hartline, the store owner, said the representative remembered it as the time as an odd call, but added that it was not unusual for his company to deal with customers with strange behavior.
A public defender representing Reinking has declined to comment on the case. A court hearing is scheduled for May 7.

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Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Susan Thomas and Dan Grebler


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Matt Gaetz forgot which network he was on: Surprised CNN anchor said ‘I’ve never been called Sean Hannity’

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Rep. Matt Gaetz seemed to confuse cable news networks during a Thursday appearance

Gaetz was interviewed by CNN's Chris Cuomo, who aggressively challenged Gaetz on the facts as the Florida Republican attempted to defend President Donald Trump.

Despite the fact Cuomo's interview was nothing like the puff segments Gaetz is used to on Fox, the congressman seemed confused by the end.

"Congressman, you are always welcome, wherever I am, at nine or eleven, whenever," Cuomo said.

"Thanks Sean," Gaetz replied.

"Did you just call me Sean?" Cuomo asked. "Did you just call me Sean?"

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California lawmaker who chaired Republican Assembly caucus leaving GOP — to become an independent: report

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On Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reported that California Assemblyman Chad Mayes, the former Assembly Minority Leader, is leaving the Republican Party and registering as No Party Preference.

"Instead of focusing on solutions for the big problems that we've got, we focused on winning elections," said Mayes in his announcement. "For me, I'm at the point in my life where I'm done with gamesmanship."

Mayes, a controversial figure who was implicated in an affair with a fellow public official, represents Yucca Valley. He is the second Republican Assemblyman this year to leave the party, after Brian Maienschein of San Diego, who Maienschein of San Diego.

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‘Quantum physics generator’ incident in Ohio results in evacuation — hazmat found no radiation

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Authorities in Columbus, Ohio evacuated dozens of homes after a man called 911 to report being burned by a

"Firefighters say nothing threatening was found in a northwest Columbus garage," WCMH-TV reported. "According to firefighters, a man called and reported that he received ‘RF burns’ while building some sort of ‘quantum physics generator’ in a garage. The man used words like ‘particle accelerator,’ ‘alpha rays,’ and ‘radiation’ while describing how he was burned."

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