Travis Reinking, the man police are seeking in connection with the killing of four people at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee, was well-known to police in the Illinois county where he lived, the Journal Star of Peoria reported.
Police reports present a disturbing picture of the man who allegedly opened fire at the restaurant.
Tazewell County Sheriff Bob Huston distributed reports at a news conference Sunday that detailed Reinking’s brushes with authorities near his hometown of Morton, Illinois, the Journal Star reported.
“The police reports speak for themselves. I think anyone can conclude after reading them that there’s evidence (Reinking) has mental health issues,” Huston said.
Here are some of the incidents:
On May 26, 2016, Reinking was in the parking lot of a CVS in Morton and told police he believed that singer Taylor Swift was stalking him and had hacked into his cellphone, the Journal Star reported. Several weeks earlier, Reinking told deputies that Swift had hacked his Netflix account and wanted to meet him at a Dairy Queen in Morton, the newspaper reported.
On June 16, 2017, police in Tremont were called to the city’s public pool after a man identified as Reinking dove into the pool wearing a pink woman’s house coat, the Journal Star reported. According to police, Reinking took off the coat and swam in his underwear. When told to exit the pool, Reinking yelled at the lifeguards and exposed his genitals, according to the report.
A report from August 2017 noted that Reinking believed as many as 30 people were hacking his cellphone because he could hear them through his speakers, the Journal Star reported. On Aug. 11, Reinking spoke with a Tazewell sheriff’s deputy and claimed he heard people outside his home barking like dogs.
Two weeks later, deputies confiscated Reinking’s four weapons and ammunition, the Journal Star reported. Reinking’s Illinois Firearms Owners’ Identification Card had been revoked by the Illinois State Police after his arrest by U.S. Secret Service agents in July 2017 for being in a restricted area near the White House.
Reinking's father was present when the deputies came to confiscate the guns, Huston told The Tennessean. Reinking’s father had a valid state authorization card and asked police if he could keep the weapons. Deputies gave Reinking's father the weapons, Huston said.
"(Reinking’s father) was allowed to do that after he assured deputies he would keep them secure and away from Travis," Huston told the Tennessean.
A 27-year-old Morton resident who asked to remain anonymous recalled an incident five years ago, when Reinking leveled what was described as an assault rifle at some friends.
“I think (Reinking) brought the gun out to show it to us. He leveled it at our heads, then he put it away,” the man told the Journal Star. “I didn’t feel threatened, but I was unnerved.”
The man did not call the police, the newspaper reported.
“I hadn’t thought that night until (Sunday), when I learned about the shooting in Nashville,” he told the Journal Star. “I haven’t seen or spoken to Travis for at least five years.”
The Morton resident said he recalls Reinking had anger issues.
“He’d get angry or frustrated easily,” he said.
Meanwhile, Morton Police Chief Craig Hilliard said his office fielded several complaints about Reinking’s driving but otherwise heard no serious allegations about him.
“We haven’t had many calls with him,” Hilliard told the Journal Star. “We haven’t had much contact with him.”
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to exclusive deals and newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.