The man accused of killing four people in a Nashville Waffle House used to send his father text messages in which he punctuated everyday chitchat with delusional rants.
Police say 29-year-old Travis Reinking was nearly naked, only wearing a green jacket, when he opened fire outside the restaurant on April 22 and then stormed inside. Police have said there would have been far more casualties if it weren’t for a quick-thinking restaurant patron who wrestled the AR-15 rifle away from the gunman.
By the time of the shooting, Reinking’s erratic behavior had already come to the attention of law enforcement, including the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office in Illinois, where he lived part-time.
According to several incident reports, Reinking believed the singer Taylor Swift was stalking and harassing him, including hacking into his computer and phone. He believed the police and his family were part of the conspiracy, and his delusions went back to at least August 2014.
The local sheriff’s office allowed Reinking to keep his gun, even after multiple incidents, but then finally seized it after he showed up at the White House. The sheriff’s office gave Reinking’s gun to his father, who then gave it back to his son. And then after the Waffle House shooting, the local state’s attorney seemed very hesitant to bring charges against the father.
A rural Morton man now faces up to three years in prison after being found guilty Friday of illegally giving his son weapons that were later used in a 2018 mass shooting.
Jeffrey Reinking could also get probation when he is sentenced on June 17 on the charge of illegal delivery of a firearm to a person who had been treated for mental illness within the past five years.
During a one-day bench trial before Tazewell County Judge Chris Doscotch, prosecutors argued that Reinking knew his son, Travis, had undergone mental health treatment in 2016.