PEORIA — After more than a week of silence, the rural Morton family of the man accused of killing four at a Nashville-area Waffle House has released a statement of condolences to the victims.
Their attorney, Joel Brown of Peoria, released the brief statement from the family Tuesday morning. He said nothing more would come from them at this time.
“The Reinking family is heartbroken and devastated at the loss of life and injury in Tennessee. The Reinkings pray for all of the victims and their families, for healing and peace. In time, and in the due course of understanding all of the facts of this tragedy, the Reinkings anticipate that greater clarity will be revealed about the events leading up to this incident,” the statement read.
Travis Reinking, 29, is accused of killing four people and injuring several others in the April 20 shooting at a Nashville-area Waffle House. He was arrested the next day in Nashville after a massive manhunt and charged with criminal homicide. He's accused of using an AR-15-style rifle to kill the patrons and to wound four others. That rifle is believed to be one of four that were taken from him last summer when his Illinois Firearms Owner's Identification card was revoked. Within a day of the shooting, officials in Nashville said Jeff Reinking reportedly acknowledged that he returned all four guns to his son at some point.
And as such, 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. And Brown said he would not discuss whether his client is facing charges or is even under investigation.
"We are not in a position to talk about that," he said. "We are conducting our own investigation to understand how this happened and to know the timeline of events leading up to the incident.”
Brown did say that he has informed "various prosecuting agencies at all levels that he is representing Jeff Reinking and that has been acknowledged."
At issue is when and where the younger Reinking was given his weapons back. Under state 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 pop musician Taylor Swift.
Andy Kravetz is the Journal Star public safety reporter. He can be reached at 686-3283 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @andykravetz.