Jeffrey Reinking charged with illegally giving gun back to son, accused Waffle House shooter

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PEKIN, Ill. (HOI) — Tazewell County is charging Jeffrey Reinking, the father of accused Nashville Waffle House shooter Travis Reinking, with felony unlawful delivery of a firearm.

Tazewell County State’s Attorney Stewart Umholtz said the elder Reinking, a rural Morton resident, was charged for giving his son a Bushmaster AR-15 between Nov. 12 and 30, 2017, after he had been a patient in Methodist Hospital’s Mental Health Unit within the past five years.

Jeffrey Reinking

Travis’ Reinking’s FOID card was revoked in August 2017, when he moved to Colorado. A Tazewell County sheriff’s deputy had previously told the elder Reinking to keep firearms away from his son when his guns were revoked, an affidavit states.

In April 2018, Travis Reinking moved to the Nashville area. He is charged in Tennessee with four counts of first-degree murder and four counts of attempted first-degree murder. The Bushmaster was one of the guns used in the shooting, prosecutors said.

“Mass shootings have raised public awareness regarding the need to keep firearms out of the hands of persons afflicted with mental illness,” said Umholtz. “There is good reason why our legislature has chosen to make this a criminal offense. 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.”

Reinking’s attorney disputed the charges.

“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,” said Joel E. Brown, Reinking’s attorney in a statement to WKRN in Nashville. “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. Returning Travis’s guns to Travis is not a criminal offense and we will fight it in court.”

Brown and Reinking declined to comment in person to a Heart of Illinois ABC reporter when leaving the Tazewell County Jail on Thursday.

Jeffrey Reinking posted $5,000 bond and is set for arraignment at 2 p.m. on April 25 in Tazewell County Court. If convicted, Reinking could face probation or between one and three years in state prison.

READ: Reinking charges

Tim Shelley

Tim Shelley

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