Witnesses: Waffle House Shooting Victim’s Last Words Were ‘Jesus Loves Me’

Family members of people killed at a Waffle House restaurant write messages on wooden crosses set up as a memorial Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. Four people were killed when a gunman opened fire at the restaurant Sunday. Members of the Waffle House management and staff joined the …
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

A young woman shot to death at a Tennessee Waffle House last Sunday had been singing gospel songs with her friends moments before the attack, witnesses said.

Mourners at the funeral service for DeEbony Groves, 21, said she sang the gospel tune “Jesus Loves Me” with a friend right when shooting suspect Travis Reinking, 29, allegedly opened fire at the restaurant on April 22, the Tennessean reported.

“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,” Waffle House CEO Walt Ehmer told a crowd of mourners at her funeral service. “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.'”

Groves, who was a senior at Belmont University, had been out with her Delta Sigma Theta sorority sisters before deciding to go to the Waffle House in Antioch, where the gunman fatally shot her and three others.

Ehmer and other speakers talked about her smile and her dedication to the Christian faith. Groves had been a few weeks away from completing her bachelor’s degree in social work.

“If you look around you, her life speaks for itself,” said Juan Rodriguez, the pastor of Grace Tabernacle Christian Center, where Groves attended church.

Authorities charged Reinking with four counts of criminal homicide in connection with the shooting. Reinking also faces four counts of attempted homicide and one count of unlawful firearm possession while committing a dangerous felony.

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