Waffle House Shooter’s Father, You Know, the One That Voluntarily Gave Him That Gun, Has Been Named in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
We usually shy away from the heavy stuff on this site, but a bit of important news is coming out today, so here we go. By now, our readership is well aware of the tragedy that struck at a Waffle House in Antioch just a few short weeks ago. If not for the heroic efforts of James Shaw, Jr., it could’ve been much worse.
But, one of the big questions coming out of the arrest and investigation was whether or not the Waffle House shooter’s father, who knowingly turned the weapon used in the shooting over to his son, could face some sort of charges himself. Not a lot has trickled out in that regard, but today, outlets are reporting that he’s been named in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of one of the victims.
The wrongful death lawsuit says Travis Reinking got the gun he used in the shooting, a Bushmaster AR-15, from his father, Jeffrey, who “voluntarily” gave the weapon to Travis, even though he was not supposed to, per the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office.
The lawsuit brings up several instances to support the case that Jeffrey knew of Travis’ mental health issues and was not supposed to have guns:
In May 2016, the lawsuit says Travis’ parents called 911 to ask for help addressing the “delusional state of mind” of their son as he was threatening to commit suicide and there were guns in the house. Travis became hostile with police when they went to take him to a hospital for a mental evaluation.
In 2017, the lawsuit claims Jeffrey knew his son believed superstar Taylor Swift was harassing him by stalking and hacking his phone. Also that year, the lawsuit says Travis told police his parents and grandmother were harassing him.
June 2017: Travis Reinking swam in his underwear in a public pool and showed his genitals to lifeguards to demonstrate that he was a male. Because of this incident, Travis’ sister was told to keep guns away from Travis.
July 2017: Travis claimed to be a “sovereign citizen,” went to Washington, D.C. and breached the White House security barrier, demanding to speak to the President.
Travis’ former employer in Colorado brought up concerns about his mental health to Jeffrey in 2017, saying Travis was suffering from “mental disturbances.”
At Jeffrey’s business, J & J Cranes, Travis dressed up in a pink woman’s housecoat and allegedly threatened an employee while holding the AR-15.
On Aug. 24, 2017 – As a result of the White House incident, Tazewell County officers informed Travis that his right to own a firearm had been revoked and Travis agreed to surrender his guns and ammunition. Jeffrey asked TCSO if he could keep Travis’ guns, the said yes as long as he agrees that Travis would not have access to firearms. Jeffrey agreed. These firearms included: Bushmaster AR-15, Kimber handgun 9mm, CZ-USA .22 caliber rifle, Remington 710 rifle.
It’s just crazy. It is absolutely mind boggling to me to read this list and even remotely try to understand how you could hand over such a deadly weapon to someone with such an extensive, DOCUMENTED, history of disturbances.
I, for one, absolutely believe that this man should be punished to the full extent of the law.
And, really – what the fuck is with Tazewell County here? It’s like saying, “okay – you can have them, as long as you promise that you won’t give them to Travis!” That’s literally what happened here. There’s no element of control over the situation on their part, and I can’t help but be disappointed by their failure to act decisively.
Of course, there’s a larger conversation to be had here – mental health awareness, access to weaponry, acceptance of reality, and accountability for improvement. The old adage “if you see something, say something” applies here. But, this is the part where we do dip out and leave that conversation for you and your families to have.
This is wild, and tragically, it’s something that could have been avoided through simple good communication and decisiveness.
Stoney Keeley is the Editor in Chief of The SoBros Network. He is a strong supporter of Team GSD and #BeBetter. “Big Natural” covers the Tennessee Titans, Alabama Crimson Tide football, the WWE, and a whole wealth of nonsense. Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley