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VOL. 42 | NO. 16 | Friday, April 20, 2018

Victims of Waffle House shooting include student, rapper

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NASHVILLE (AP) — The victims of the Waffle House shooting in Tennessee on Sunday morning were all in their 20s. They include a college student, an aspiring rapper and music producer, and a restaurant employee.

Here is a look at the lives that were lost:

Akilah Dasilva

Dasilva, 23, of Antioch, was killed inside the restaurant.

He was a rap artist and music video producer who had such skills behind the camera that he was a favorite among many of Music City's independent musicians and recording labels, The Tennessean reported.

"Music is my life and I will never stop until I achieve my dreams," Dasilva said on his Twitter account.

His family has created a GoFundMe page to pay for his funeral. His stage name was Natrix, and he was one of six siblings, according to the GoFundMe message. He was a student at Middle Tennessee State University and aspired to be a music engineer.

The message said he was a loving son, a selfless friend, and a "beacon of hope, love, and strength in his family."

"His family hopes that in the midst of this senseless act of terrorism and hate, his life will not be in vain," the message said. "We hope that this tremendous loss will spark tangible action in true gun law reform so no other family would ever have to experience this sort of tragedy."

Dasilva was at the restaurant with his girlfriend, 21-year-old Tia Waggoner, The Tennessean reported. Waggoner was wounded and is being treated at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dasilva's family said she underwent surgery and doctors were trying to save her leg.

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DeEbony Groves,

Groves was a 21-year-old student at Nashville's Belmont University. She was remembered as an exceptional student who made the Dean's list, and as a tenacious basketball player.

"She was a brilliant young lady, very, very intelligent and a very hard worker," Gallatin High School basketball coach Kim Kendrick told The Tennessean.

Belmont released a statement saying Groves was a senior who was majoring in social work.

"The entire campus community is shocked and devastated by how such senseless violence has taken the life of this young woman, an individual full of immense potential," the statement said.

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Joe Perez

Perez, 20, of Nashville, was fatally shot in the parking lot of the restaurant.

Perez's mother posted a picture of her son on Facebook and asked for prayers, saying it was the hardest day of her life. "Me, my husband and sons are broken right now with this loss," Trisha Perez said in the post. "Our lives are shattered."

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Taurean Sanderlin

Sanderlin, 29, of Goodlettsville, was killed in the parking lot. He worked at the restaurant.

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Those injured in the attack include:

Sharita Henderson

Henderson, 24, of Antioch, was wounded and is being treated at VUMC.

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James Shaw Jr.

Shaw is a 29-year-old restaurant patron who burned his hand grabbing the hot muzzle of the assault weapon as he wrestled the gun away from the shooter. A Nashville native who works as a wireless technician for AT&T, Shaw said he was no hero — despite being hailed as one by Nashville Mayor David Briley and many others.

Shaw said he pounced on the suspect out of self-preservation, after making up his mind that "he was going to have to work to kill me."

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