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Waffle House shooter had history of delusions, believed Taylor Swift was stalking him

Waffle House (CBS Evening News/YouTube)

Travis Reinking, the suspected Waffle House shooter, feared pop star Taylor Swift was stalking him in his Illinois hometown and hacking his phone and Netflix account, according to fits of delusions detailed in police reports.

One of the first documented encounters Illinois authorities had with the alleged 29-year-old gunman was in May 2016, when loved ones worried he would hurt himself over the stalking claims and called police.

Those relatives said he had “been having these delusions” since 2014.

When confronted by cops in a parking lot near Peoria, Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office deputies said Reinking was convinced the singer — who launched her country music career in Nashville, Tenn. — was following him and urging him to meet at a nearby Dairy Queen.

He tried meeting Swift at the fast food joint but she yelled at him from across the street and bolted, according to his version of events. He gave chase “in an attempt to get her to stop harassing him,” the police report read.

“Taylor climbed up the side of a building and Travis followed. However, when he reached the rooftop, Taylor was gone,” according to the report.

He was taken to a local hospital for an evaluation but contended “it was against his will.”

Tazewell County Sheriff Robert Huston released five police reports for Reinking on Sunday, hours after he was named as a suspect in the fatal Waffle House shooting in Nashville.

Reinking remains on the loose after allegedly killing four people in the Sunday morning attack at the Nashville diner.

Huston acknowledged his force was aware of Reinking’s brush with law enforcement and mental health problems.

“Obviously we are aware of him. We had dealings with him before,” Huston told reporters.

“I think anybody who reads the police reports here would conclude there is certainly evidence of mental health issues involved,” the sheriff said.

The police papers note that Reinking owned several weapons and had a penchant for acting hostile toward police.

One of those weapons, an AR-15, was used in what authorities described as “an information report showing the state of mind of Travis Reinking” the following year.

An employee at a crane rental business in the same building where Reinking lived told police the suspect threatened him with a semi-automatic rifle during an argument.

“Is this what you f — -ing want,” Reinking allegedly yelled at the worker.

He then stashed the gun in the trunk of his car and stormed off. He is believed to have broken into a nearby Tremont pool next during the June 2017 verbal rampage. Lifeguards said the scantily clad trespasser was only wearing a pink women’s housecoat and underwear when they ordered him to get out. He yelled at them and then flashed his genitals, according to the report. Reinking was not arrested for either incident since employees at the Tremont Park District Pool did not wish to press charges.

Police then told Reinking’s father, Jeff, that he should lock up his gun arsenal “until Travis gets mental help.”

But that didn’t happen until August. Cops ordered the elder Reinking to confiscate his son’s weapons cache, which included an AR-15, a .22-caliber rifle and a Remington 710, when Illinois State Police revoked his firearms permit.

“We have no confirmation concerning how Travis Reinking obtained possession of the weapons subsequent to them being taken from him,” Huston said in a statement.

The extent of Reinking’s mental health history was not entirely known Sunday night but the police reports suggest the suspected shooter pegged his paranoia to when he started writing to Swift. It was not clear when that was.

Reps for Swift did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reinking told police he heard people barking like dogs outside his home and while shopping at a Walmart, he believed he was being watched, according to the August report. Additionally, he said “they” were tapping his computer and phone but Reinking was unable to explain who the culprits were.

“Travis stated he knows they are because he can hear himself through their speakers when he is in an online chat room. Travis said he believes approximately 20-30 people are hacking into his phone and computer,” the deputy wrote in the report.

He contended “people are baiting him into breaking the law.”

Huston said he was aware of Reinking’s White House arrest in July 2017, when he claimed to be a sovereign citizen and boasted to having “a right to inspect the grounds.”

He told a D.C. Metropolitan police officer he needed to speak with President Donald Trump.

Secret Service agents arrested Reinking as he busted through a security barrier at the White House complex.

“Do what you need to do. Arrest me if you have to,” he told agents, while balling his hand into a fist.


© 2018 New York Daily News

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