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Father of Waffle House shooting suspect charged for giving gun to son

PEKIN - Jeffrey Reinking, the father of Waffle House shooting suspect Travis Reinking, was charged with felony unlawful delivery of a firearm.

Tazewell County State's Attorney Stewart Umholtz said Jeffrey was charged with the class 4 felony for knowingly giving a Bushmaster AR-15 to his son between Nov. 12-30, 2017. Travis was a patient at Methodist medical Center of Illinois Mental Health Unit within the last five years, making the delivery a violation. 

Travis's FOID card was revoked in August 2017 when he moved to Colorado. 

"Mass shootings have raised public awareness regarding the need to keep firearms out of the hands of persons afflicted with mental illness," Umholtz said. "While I strongly support citizens rights under the Second Amendment, I also strongly support holding individuals accountable for the commission of criminal offenses related to firearms." 

In December 2018, Jeffrey confirmed he gave his son access to guns, even though Tazewell County police advised him to keep him away from them. 

Travis is on trial for the Nashville Waffle House shooting that left four people dead in April 2018. The gun was determined to be a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle.

Jeffrey's attorney Joel Brown said, "Jeff Reinking has not committed a criminal offense. He has been charged under an Illinois statute that prohibits the sale or gift of firearms to someone who has been in a mental institution. But Jeff didn't sell or gift Travis the guns."

"The district attorney wants to pound a round peg into a square hole because of the terrible events that happened months after Travis's weapons were returned to him," he continued. "Returning Travis's guns to Travis is not a criminal offense and we will fight it in court."

If convicted, Jeffrey could be sentenced to probation, or 1-3 years in prison. The court may also assess a $25,000 fine. He has since posted bond and is scheduled to appear in Tazewell County court again on April 25.


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