Jeff Reinking of Morton, the father of alleged Waffle House shooter Travis Reinking, is the defendant in a lawsuit filed in Tazewell County.
The suit was filed Monday by Christian Perez, the brother of one of the four people killed in the April 22 shooting at the Antioch, Tennessee restaurant.
The suit accuses Jeff Reinking of negligence for transferring ownership of four weapons, including a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, back to his son. Jeff Reinking took ownership of the weapons in August 2017 after it was found his son’s FOID card was revoked.
Travis Reinking allegedly used the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle during the Waffle House shooting.
Perez is demanding a jury trial and damages “of an amount more than $50,000.” A management conference is scheduled for Oct. 18.
The attorney for Travis Reinking’s parents, Joel Brown, issued a statement Tuesday:
The Reinking family has learned that a lawsuit for money damages has been filed by the family of Joe Perez, Jr., who tragically lost his life in the Waffle House shooting in Tennessee. Numerous members of the press have requested comment on the newly filed suit. We respectfully decline to comment at this time.
The suit also claims Reinking had “first-hand knowledge and experiences of the variations in his son’s mental health status” prior to transferring onwership of the weapons back to his son.
According to the suit, “Regardless of the exact date of the transfer, and regardless of the exact mental status of his son at the precise time of the transfer, (Jeff Reinking) knew (or reasonably should have known) that his son’s mental status was such that it could deteriorate at any time in the future.”
The day of the Waffle House shooting, the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office released incident reports of past contact with Travis Reinking.
Officers responded to the parking lot of CVS in Morton May 26, 2016 where Tazewood Emergency Response Service was evaluating a man later identified as Reinking.
Reinking believed singer Taylor Swift was stalking him and hacking his phone and believed everyone in his own family and the police were involved. Reinking initially refused an officer’s advice to report to UnityPoint Health-Methodist for evaluation. The report indicates Reinking stated he believed he had autism.
Reinking drove off but later returned. As Reinking drove off, the report claims the family told officers he had made comments earlier in the day about killing himself and had access to firearms at his residence.
Reinking attempted to leave a second time but officers told him he had no other choice but to seek treatment because he was being placed in protective custody because of the earlier suicide threat. Reinking eventually agreed to allow officers to take him to UnityPoint Health-Methodist, but said he was doing so against his will.
Another incident report was from the Tremont Park District pool June 16, 2017 alleging Reinking barged into the pool area wearing a pink woman’s house coat and dove into the pool. He then took off the house coat was swimming in his underwear. Reinking, according to the report, started yelling at the lifeguards and showed them his genitals saying he was a man.
No one at the pool wanted to press charges against Reinking and so a report was not immediately written.
August, 11, 2017 a Tazewell County Sheriff’s sergeant claimed Renking pulled up alongside him at Route 9 and Baer Road and wanted to report people were tapping into his computer and phone. Reinking also claimed unknown people were outside his residence barking like dogs. Reinking also complained he was being watched.
Reinking was told to call police if the people barking like dogs showed up at his residence again and that a report of his claims would be on file. No further action was taken.
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