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Accused murderer’s grandmother: ‘He’s a sick boy’

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Booking photo of Waffle House suspect Travis Reinking.

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) — The grandmother of Travis Reinking, charged in Sunday’s deadly Waffle House massacre, said the man the nation has seen is not the grandson she knows.

“It’s not him. He is a sick boy,” said Marilyn Hopper.

Hopper is among the family members listen in arrest records who spoke with police in Illinois, starting in 2016, growing ever concerned about Reinking’s behavior.

After Sunday’s shootings that killed four people and wounded four others, Hopper said she’s devastated.

“My heart goes out to those people who have loved ones they’ve lost. I’ve lost two children myself and I know what that feels like. My heart really does go out to them. But you know, we have a side too,” Hopper said by phone.

It’s a side that’s growing ever complicated.

On May 27, 2016, Hopper joined Reinking’s parents, Jeff and Judith Reinking, in expressing their concern to police that Reinking believed Taylor Swift was harassing and stalking him.

In the police report, Hopper and Reinking’s parents warned police that he had access to firearms at his residence.

And in June 2017, Jeff Reinking told police that he took three rifles and a handgun away from his son after his son experienced “problems.”

Yet police believe Jeff Reinking ultimately gave weapons back to his son.

When Reinking was stopped trying to enter the White House in July 2017, Illinois state investigators took away four of his weapons.

Police believe his father gave them back, after promising to keep them away from Reinking.

ATF agent Marcus Watson said Jeff Reinking could be charged.

“It is possible. If you transfer weapons to a person knowingly who is prohibited, it could potentially be a violation of federal law,” Watson said.

The News4 I-Team repeatedly tried to reach Jeff Reinking today by phone without success.

With her grandson now charged in the nation’s latest deadly shooting, all Hopper can do is offer her remorse.

“I’m just so sorry for those people and their loss and my heart goes out to them,” Hopper said.

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