Is The Waffle House Shooter’s Father Legally Culpable? [VIDEO]
Is The Waffle House Shooter’s Father Legally Culpable? [VIDEO]
The coming days are going to give the public a fairly ugly picture of the life and mental health history of Travis Reinking, the alleged shooter at the Nashville Waffle House on Sunday morning.
The details are horrifying.
As the story continues to unfold and we honor a hero, the gun control activists are already making their usual demands for the banning of AR-15s and “assault rifles.” Problem is, it turns out that the shooter had already had his firearms confiscated after he was arrested last summer at the White House.
In July 2017, Travis Reinking told a uniform Secret Service officer that he must get into the White House to speak with the President, according to an arrest report. The officer explained that he must get a tour to do that and told Reinking to move away from the pedestrian entrance, but the report states Reinking told the officer again that he had to speak with the President and that he was a “sovereign citizen” who had a right to inspect the grounds. After telling Reinking to move again, the report states that Reinking took his tie off, balled it into his fist, began approaching the officer and walked past the security barriers.
“Do what you need to do. Arrest me if you have to,” Reinking said, according to the report.
Reinking was detained but refused to leave the secured area, so he was arrested and charged with unlawful entry, the report states.
According to court records, Reinking entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with community service on July 26, 2017. On November 17, 2017, the court determined Reinking had successfully completed the program and the case was dismissed.
Shortly after his release, Reinking was interviewed by the FBI in Illinois, where he lived at the time.
Tazewell County, Illinois, authorities revoked Reinking’s firearm authorization and seized four weapons after the interview. According to a report from the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office, authorities seized a Kimber 9 mm handgun, a Bushmaster AR-15 style rifle, a CZ-USA .22-caliber rifle, a Remington 710 and random ammunition. The AR-15 style rifle listed was the same weapon used in Sunday’s Waffle House shooting, which killed four people, according to the Metropolitan Nashville Police.
So, if the alleged shooter’s ability to own firearms was revoked, and his guns confiscated, how did he get his hands on those guns again?
Apparently, this is his father’s doing.
A sheriff in Illinois says Travis Reinking’s state firearms card was revoked last year by state police, but his guns were given to his father with the promise that they wouldn’t be shared with his son.
Police in Tennessee are searching for the 29-year-old Reinking, saying he’s suspected of fatally shooting four people at a Nashville restaurant early Sunday. The Metro Nashville Police Department says arrest warrants charging Reinking with murder have been issued. Police say Reinking was from Morton, Illinois, but moved to Nashville in 2017.
Sheriff Robert Huston in Tazewell County, Illinois, says his department has “no information” on how Reinking got the weapons again. Huston says Reinking’s father has a valid firearm ownership card, and his officers didn’t believe they had any authority to seize the weapons. He says the father agreed to “keep the weapons secure and out of the possession of Travis.”
So in this case, the law worked as it was supposed to. The local authorities removed the firearms at the request of the FBI. The foul up here is the sheriff’s office decision to trust Daddy Dearest with the firearms. The shooter clearly had mental health issues, as is evidenced by his interactions with police prior to and after his White House arrest.
In May 2016, law enforcement officials in Tazewell County, Illinois, said they encountered the suspect, who was “delusional.” Reinking claimed Swift had been stalking him, and that “everyone including his own family and the police” had been involved, a police report obtained by Fox News stated.
Reinking, who relatives claimed had been having delusions since August 2014, said Swift had hacked his Netflix account and told him to meet her at a Dairy Queen, according to the report.
In addition, Reinking reportedly had exposed himself in a public pool after swimming in his underwear in June 2017. Someone had called the cops on Reinking, who was apparently “wearing a pink womans house coat and had a AR-15 rifle.”
A Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office report stated that in August 2017, Reinking wanted to report that 20 to 30 people were “tapping into his computer and phone,” and said that he’s been hearing people outside of his house “barking like dogs.”
So, why on earth would Jeffrey Reinking give his son the guns back, with all of these documented mental health issues and incidents, and even though he had promised law enforcement he would not? That is the burning question, and one that a lawyer is probably going to end up answering on Reinking’s behalf, if he’s smart.
The burning question at the moment is: does the shooter’s father bear any legal responsibility for what happened on Sunday? Obviously, there is a moral responsibility – he’s already acknowledged that he gave the firearms that he was supposed to keep away from the shooter right back to him – and you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be a civil responsibility, once the criminal charges and cases are over and finished and the victims’ families get lawyers to represent them. But is he on the hook legally?
The issue is also complicated by the fact that there are two jurisdictions involved: Tazewell County, Illinois, where the suspect previously lived and where his father still lives, and Nashville, Tennessee. I have no doubt that there is a law between the two places that a prosecutor will slap on Jeffrey Reinking for letting his son have his guns back when he had been told not to. It’s highly unlikely, though, that something as big as a murder charge, a conspiracy charge, or even a manslaughter charge sticks to Reinking the father.
However, he’d better be finding the best criminal defense attorney that he can afford for himself. He’s going to need it.