News

U.S.

Authorities Confiscated Waffle House Shooter’s Guns Months Before Massacre

(Dreamstime image: Gbautista87)

Authorities confiscated Travis Reinking’s AR-15 months before he used it to kill four people at a Waffle House in Tennessee, according to Illinois police records.

Reinking, who has been on the run since the Sunday shooting, was detained by secret service in July after breaching the White House perimeter in an attempt to meet with President Donald Trump. Following the incident, police revoked his Illinois gun identification card due to mental health concerns and confiscated his four legally owned firearms.

When police arrived at Reinking’s home to take the guns, his father, who is licensed in Illinois, asked to keep them and promised to keep them away from his son, but now admits he returned them after police left.

“He was allowed to do that after he assured deputies he would keep them secure and away from Travis,” Tazewell County Sheriff Robert M. Huston told reporters Sunday, referring to Reinking’s father.

Certain firearms can be released to family members after they are confiscated, according to the law in Reinking’s home state of Illinois. Reinking could not legally possess the guns in Illinois, though it remains unclear whether his possession of the four guns, one of which — a pistol — is now missing from his apartment, violated Tennessee law.

The trespassing incident at the White House was not Reinking’s first encounter with law enforcement, according to police reports.

In May 2016, police responded to a call regarding Reinking, who was insisting that Taylor Swift was stalking him. Tazewell County Sheriff’s Deputies brought him to the hospital for evaluation following the incident.

Roughly one month before his run in with secret service, Reinking was reported for threatening someone an AR-15 while wearing a pink dress. After threatening the man, Reinking exposed himself to onlookers at a public pool.

James Shaw Jr., 29, stopped the shooting by grabbing the gun barrel and wrenching it away from Reinking, preventing further casualties. One Waffle House employee and three customers were killed and two women remain in critical condition.

“I want people to know that I did that completely out of a selfish act,” Shaw, who was grazed by a bullet, told reporters after he was released from the hospital Sunday. “I was completely doing it just to save myself…. I did save other people, but I don’t want people to think that I was the Terminator or Superman or anybody like that.”

The gunman, who was wearing only a green tactical jacket, is believed to have returned to his nearby apartment to retrieve pants before fleeing to a wooded area adjacent to his apartment complex. He moved to Antioch, Tenn. from Morton, Ill. last fall and had recently been fired from a construction job.

Reinking was charged with unlawful entry, a misdemeanor, for breaching the White House barriers. He was ordered to perform 32 hours of community service and to stay away from the White House for four months. Charges were later dropped after it was determined that he complied with the court’s conditions.

Jack Crowe — Jack Crowe is a news writer at National Review Online.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Wheels Begin to Come Off in the House

The Republican House has never been particularly functional, but Ryan has managed to hold it together admirably — until now. The Freedom Caucus took down the farm bill last week to pressure for a vote on a hawkish immigration bill, while a discharge petition is gaining ground with the support of Republican ... Read More
World

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Wins, America Loses

Derek Scissors of AEI has a sour take on the latest turn in U.S.–China trade talks: If there’s good news, it’s that the Trump administration has fallen silent on whether the U.S. will bend our law for China in the ZTE case, which got so much attention last week. That would be a big step backward. But even ... Read More
Culture

Jonathan Swift in a White Suit

In 1965 Tom Wolfe visited Princeton University for a panel discussion of "the style of the Sixties." The author of The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, published that year, was scheduled to appear alongside Günter Grass, Allen Ginsberg, and Paul Krassner. Grass spoke first. The German novelist's ... Read More
World

In Appreciation, and against (Too Much) Nostalgia

To put it a little self-pityingly: It seems that my gurus are going, and the world’s. Richard Pipes, the great historian of Russia and the Soviet Union, died on Thursday; Bernard Lewis, the great historian of the Middle East, died yesterday. We had them both for a long time. Pipes was born in 1923, Lewis way ... Read More
Culture

Comedians Are Catching On

The comedians are beginning to catch on. Over the weekend -- just one week after featuring a bevy of top-line Hollywood stars impersonating members of the Trump administration, as well as a cameo by a vengeful Stormy Daniels asking for President Trump’s resignation -- Saturday Night Live finally acknowledged ... Read More
PC Culture

The Nature of Progressive Insensitivity

Former vice president Joe Biden is back in the news yet again. For a second time, he seems surprised that poor residents of the inner city are capable of doing sophisticated jobs: We don't think ordinary people can do things like program, code. It's not rocket science, guys. So, we went and we hired some folks ... Read More
Culture

The Feminization of Everything Fails Our Boys

Let me share with you two troubling — and, I believe, closely linked — news reports. The first, from this weekend, comes courtesy of the American Enterprise Institute’s Mark Perry. In one chart, he highlights the dramatic and growing gender gap in higher education. In short, women are dominating: ... Read More