Waffle House Shooting Victim Died Singing Gospel Songs, CEO Says
TENNESSEE — A young woman killed in the attack at a Tennessee Waffle House died singing gospel songs, the restaurant chain’s CEO said Saturday.
Speaking at the funeral for 21-year-old DeEbony Groves, Walt Ehmer recounted what a survivor told him happened before the attack early in the morning of April 22. Groves and her friend were singing gospel songs, the survivor told Ehmer.
“We went and visited with the survivors, and they talked about the people who were in that restaurant before what happened happened, and specifically remembered your daughter,” Ehmer told mourners.
“And (they) spoke of your daughter and her friend, and said they were singing gospel songs. And everybody was singing and enjoying each other and she said, ‘The last thing I remember her saying was, singing Jesus Loves Me.'”
His words were met with applause and hallelujahs.
Ehmer also offered words of support and comfort to friends and family at the funeral.
“You will get through this because I know by watching this is a very strong, faith-filled community,” he told them.
Groves, a senior at Belmont University, was out on the town with her Delta Sigma Theta sorority sisters before going to Waffle House, according to CNN affiliate WKRN-TV. She and 23-year-old Akilah DaSilva were killed inside the restaurant after the gunman drew an assault-style rifle.
“All I can tell you is that our Waffle House family is hurting for you, and with you,” Ehmer said.
Waffle House employee Taurean C. Sanderlin and customer Joe R. Perez were shot and killed outside the restaurant.
Accused shooter Travis Reinking has been charged with four counts of criminal homicide. He also faces four counts of attempted murder and one count of unlawful gun possession in the commission of a violent felony.