The gunman suspected of killing at least four people in a Tennessee Waffle House shooting had previous run-ins with the law.
In fact, the FBI once even interviewed Travis Reinking of Illinois after he breached a White House security barrier in July 2017. He was allegedly trying to meet President Donald Trump when the Secret Service arrested him.
Following that interview, Tazewell County, Illinois, authorities revoked Reinking's firearm authorization. Several news sources, including CNN, report authorities seized four of his weapons, including the Bushmaster AR-15 style rifle that he allegedly used in the Waffle House massacre. Other sources, however, report the authorities later allowed his father to take possession of the four weapons with him agreeing he would “keep the weapons secure and out of the possession of Travis.”
WPXI.com reports Sheriff Robert Huston in Tazewell County, Illinois, says his department has "no information" on how the suspect got hold of the weapons again. But both Huston and Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson believe the father returned the weapons to Reinking.
One very important piece of information about Reinking's 2017 arrest was that he identified himself as a "sovereign citizen, who had a right to inspect the grounds."
The sovereign citizen movement is considered one of the top most domestic terror threats in the United States. The group's members are also known to be the country's top killers of police officers.
The FBI defines sovereign citizens as "anti-government extremists who believe that even though they physically reside in this country, they are separate or 'sovereign' from the United States. As a result, they believe they don’t have to answer to any government authority, including courts, taxing entities, motor vehicle departments or law enforcement."
So, here's what's worth noting: Despite the controversial run-in with the Secret Service and the FBI, despite local and federal Illinois authorities becoming aware of Reinking's possession of firearms, despite Reinking identifying himself as a member of a notorious domestic terror group, he was, somehow, not considered a serious public threat. He was given a slap on the wrist with 32 hours of community service and an order to stay away from the White House for four months.
To quote The Washington Post, none of this was considered to be "much evidence at the time that he posed a danger to the public."
Fast forward a couple of months, Reinking is now considered armed, dangerous and allegedly responsible for the Waffle House killing spree.
Now, imagine a person of color or, worse, a Muslim person of color, who was arrested for trespassing, was found in possession of multiple weapons, including assault style rifles, and identified with a terror group.
Would they be let go with 32 hours of community service?
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters