A second civil lawsuit was filed Wednesday against Waffle House shooting suspect Travis Reinking and his father, Jeffrey, by the family of 23-year-old Akilah DaSilva, one of the victims of the shooting. The $100 million wrongful death suit "seeks to hold both Defendants accountable for their unconscionable conduct."
DaSilva was one of four young victims shot and killed at the Waffle House in Antioch, Tenn. just after 3 a.m. on Sunday, April 22.
"Akilah DaSilva was a beloved son, brother, and budding musician who was pursuing a promising career in computer engineering at Middle Tennessee State University. He loved his family, photography, writing poetry, and directing music videos," the complaint, filed by DaSilva's mother, Shaundelle Brooks, states. "On April 22, 2018, Travis Reinking gunned him down with an AR-15 style rifle that had been returned to him by his father, Jeffrey Reinking, despite Mr. Reinking’s actual knowledge that his son was mentally unstable and posed a severe risk of harm to himself and others."
The civil suit filed Wednesday is the second such lawsuit filed. A similar complaint was filed against Travis Reinking and his father by the family of 20-year-old Joe Perez in May. That lawsuit claims Jeffery Reinking's negligent conduct caused Perez's death.
Travis Reinking allegedly shot Perez and 29-year-old Taurean Sanderlin in the parking lot outside the restaurant on Murfreesboro Pike. He then allegedly entered the restaurant and opened fire on the customers inside. There, DaSilva and 21-year-old DeEbony Groves were fatally wounded.
Four others were also injured in the incident.
Jeffrey Reinking's attorney released a statement on his behalf after the first lawsuit was filed, saying:
"The Reinking family has learned that a lawsuit for money damages has been filed by the family of Joe Perez, Jr., who tragically lost his life in the Waffle House shooting in Tennessee. Numerous members of the press have requested comment on the newly filed suit. We respectfully decline to comment at this time."
Shortly after the shooting in Nashville, law enforcement in Tazewell County, Illinois, where the elder Reinking resides, held a press conference regarding their history with the younger Reinking and past concerns regarding his mental health.
On Aug. 24, 2017, officials confiscated four weapons from Travis Reinking due to worries about his mental stability. He voluntarily surrendered the weapons to the police, who then turned them over to his father Jeffery Reinking.
Illinois officials said Reinking’s father has admitted to returning three weapons to his son, one of which was the AR-15 reportedly used in the shooting at the Waffle House in Nashville, despite his explicit promise to law enforcement that he would keep them out of his son's hands.
"Jeffrey Reinking did, in fact, agree that he would not return the firearms and ammunition to Travis Reinking or allow him to access them," the complaint states. However, "on all three occasions, Jeffrey Reinking returned those firearms to Travis Reinking despite actual knowledge that his son was mentally unstable and a danger to others."
While the right to own weapons had been stripped from Reinking in Illinois, no such law exists in Tennessee where he committed the alleged crimes.
The lawsuit claims the elder Reinking returned the weapons to his son knowing Travis "planned to take and possess the rifle in Nashville, Tennessee, and that his doing so constituted a real and severe danger to all individuals in Nashville, Tennessee with whom Travis Reinking came into contact. Jeffrey Reinking transferred the rifle into Travis Reinking’s possession with the actual knowledge and intent that the rifle be introduced into and possessed in the State of Tennessee and the city of Nashville by an individual whom he knew to be dangerous and mentally unstable."
After a massive manhunt, Travis Reinking was arrested by Metro Nashville Police Department around 1 p.m. on Monday, April, 22, the day after the shooting. He is charged with four counts of criminal homicide, four counts of attempted murder and one count of unlawful gun possession in the commission of a violent felony.
The elder Reinking has not been charged in Illinois for returning confiscated weapons to his son.
Brian Manookian, the lawyer who filed the lawsuit on behalf of DaSilva's family Wednesday, told News4:
"The conduct of the shooter's father in repeatedly returning an assault rifle that had been seized by law enforcement to his dangerous and mentally ill son is beyond comprehension. He armed a deranged individual with a weapon of war and sent him to our community. We are going to hold him responsible."
To read the full complaint, click here.
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