CRIME
07/11/2018 09:43 pm ET Updated Jul 13, 2018

Mom Of Waffle House Shooting Victim Sues Alleged Gunman And His Father

The $100 million suit claims the suspect’s father should be held accountable for returning his son’s confiscated guns to him.

The mother of Akilah DaSilva, a 23-year-old who died in the horrific shooting at a Waffle House in Tennessee, filed a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit against the alleged gunman and his father.

An attorney for Shaundelle Brooks, DaSilva’s mother, filed the suit in Davidson County Circuit Court on Wednesday, requesting a total of $100 million in damages from Travis Reinking, the 29-year-old suspect, and his father, Jeffrey Reinking.

The lawsuit, obtained by HuffPost, accuses both men of “unconscionable conduct.”

It states that the younger Reinking used an AR-15-style rifle to attack the Waffle House in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 22. It also claims that Jeffrey Reinking was negligent for entrusting a firearm to his son despite knowing that law enforcement had revoked the younger man’s right to possess one.

Daniel Horwitz, Brooks’ attorney, would not comment on Travis Reinking, but he had a message for his father.

“Let this lawsuit serve as a stark warning,” Horwitz said in a statement sent to HuffPost. “If you entrust someone that you know to be both dangerous and mentally unstable with one [of] the most efficient purveyors of death in modern society, you will be held personally accountable for the consequences.”

DaSilva, a locally known musician who went by the name Natrix, was one of four people who died in the Waffle House shooting. His girlfriend was also injured.

Akilah DaSilva, 23, was a rap artist who produced videos for other independent musicians in Nashville, Tennessee.
Courtesy of attorney Daniel Horwitz
Akilah DaSilva, 23, was a rap artist who produced videos for other independent musicians in Nashville, Tennessee.

Travis Reinking, tackled by bystander James Shaw Jr. at the Waffle House, fled the scene naked and on foot, but was later arrested and charged with multiple counts of criminal homicide. 

The year before the attack, officials had forced Reinking to surrender his firearms after he had a series of run-ins with law enforcement. He’d previously attempted to cross a security barrier at the White House and also claimed that singer Taylor Swift was stalking him, according to The New York Times.

Officials revoked Reinking’s Illinois Firearm Owners Identification card, which allowed him to legally possess a firearm, and turned his weapons over to his father, who promised he would keep them away from his son. But the elder Reinking later gave them back to him, according to Nashville police.

Jeffrey Reinking may have violated federal law for returning the guns, said Marcus Watson, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in a press conference after the shooting.

Brooks’ lawsuit claims that DaSilva’s death was a product of the Reinkings’ negligence and “civil conspiracy.”

“The harm that Jeffrey Reinking caused would have been foreseeable to any reasonable person,” Brooks’ lawsuit noted, citing the suspect’s “mental instability” and “fact that his right to carry firearms had been revoked.”

“The entrustment of firearms to Travis Reinking by Jeffrey Reinking directly resulted in, and was the cause, of the death of Mr. DaSilva,” the suit continued.

In a statement to HuffPost, Brooks said she wanted to prevent this type of attack from happening again.

“The purpose of this lawsuit is to honor my son’s beloved memory, hold those responsible for his death fully accountable, and help ensure that nobody else’s family ever has to experience the sorrow and horror that we have,” she said.

The family of Joe Perez, a 20-year-old also killed in the shooting, filed a similar wrongful death lawsuit against Reinking and his father in May, demanding $50,000 in damages.

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