Father of accused Waffle House gunman named in lawsuit

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NASHVILLE, TN (WKRN) – The father of the accused Waffle House gunman has been named as a defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by one of the victim’s families.  

Court documents obtained by WKRN show Jeffrey Reinking faces a civil lawsuit filed by the family of Joe Perez. 

The lawsuit claims negligent entrustment and gratuitous assumption of duty. 

According to the lawsuit, “the defendant’s negligent entrustment allowed his son to be in possession of a weapon–the Bushmaster AR-15–that he used to shoot and kill Joe Perez, Jr.” 

Travis Reinking is accused of killing four people and injuring four more at the Antioch Waffle House in the early morning hours of April 22. 

He evaded a massive police manhunt for more than 30 hours and was arrested in a wooded area less than a mile from the shooting scene. 

Travis Reinking was well known to the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department in Illinois, first having delusions involving Taylor Swift before he showed up at a construction site with an AR-15, which is when the sheriff’s department advised members of the Reinking family to take away Travis’ guns and lock them up until he got some help.   

On July 7, 2017, the U.S. Secret Service arrested Reinking outside the White House grounds on Pennsylvania Ave.

According to court records, Reinking approached a Secret Service agent, saying he had to get into the White House to speak to the president. He refused to leave and tried to walk past the security barrier, saying, “Do what you need to do. Arrest me if you have to.” 

After that incident, the FBI coordinated with Illinois State Police and Tazewell County authorities to revoke Reinking’s Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card. He owned four weapons, including a Kimber 9mm handgun, Bushmaster AR-15, CZ-USA .22 rifle, and a Remington 710, plus ammunition.   

On Aug. 24, 2017, Travis Reinking gave up his four weapons to the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department. 

According to records, the department released the weapons to Reinkings’ father, Jeffrey Reinking, who holds a valid FOID card. He was advised to “keep the weapons secure and away from Travis.”  

The Tazewell County sheriff previously said it has no information about how the son got the guns back.  Reinking had been living in Antioch for a few months before the shooting.  

The lawsuit asks for a judgment against Jeffrey Reinking in an amount more than $50,000, plus court costs and a trial by jury. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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