PEKIN — It appears where Travis Reinking was given his firearms back will determine whether there was a violation of state or federal law, says Tazewell County's top prosecutor.
But even then, State's Attorney Stu Umholtz cautioned there are far too many unknowns for him to make a decision either way.
"I think there has to be a determination of whether that person could lawfully possess a firearm under the rules that apply to him, which could be whatever state or federal rules apply to him," he said Tuesday.
Reinking, 29, is accused of killing four people and injuring several others in the Sunday morning shooting at a Nashville-area Waffle House. He was arrested Monday in Nashville, and his $2 million bond was revoked Tuesday.
Last summer, deputies with the Tazewell County Sheriff's Office facilitated the transfer of four firearms, including an AR-15 style rifle, from Travis Reinking to his father, Jeff, who has reportedly since acknowledged that he returned all four guns to his son at some point.
A law enforcement official in Nashville has hinted at possible federal law violations. A spokeswoman from the U.S. Attorney's office for the Central District of Illinois, which includes the Peoria area, declined to comment.
At issue is when and where Reinking was given his weapons back after his Illinois Firearms Owners Identification card was revoked last summer. Under Illinois law, an Illinois resident can only legally possess firearms while in the state with a valid FOID card. But the Illinois State Police wrote to Reinking on Aug. 16, 2017, saying his FOID card was being revoked because he wasn't an Illinois resident.
No mention was made in the letter regarding his past issues in Washington, D.C., where he allegedly tried to get onto the White House grounds, nor did it make mention of Tazewell County Sheriff's Office reports that stated he believed he was being stalked by the pop musician Taylor Swift.
It matters because his father, Jeff Reinking, allegedly returned the firearms. The AR-15 style weapon that his son had when he lived in Tremont and in rural Morton appears to be the same one that was used in the Waffle House shootings that left four dead.
Umholtz said there are many factors that he simply doesn't know enough about yet to make a decision.
"We may or may not have a state law or a federal violation. We don’t know because we don’t have all the facts," he said. "We need to know where did the transfer take place and when did it take place. And what is the state of residency for Travis Reinking?"
Andy Kravetz is the Journal Star public safety reporter. He can be reached at 686-3283 and email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @andykravetz.