Son Tipped Off FBI That Father Took Part In Capitol Riot
A teenage boy tipped of the FBI about his own father’s involvement in the Capitol riots, weeks before the violent insurrection of January 6.
18-year-old Jackson Reffit knew his father was ‘planning something big’, but he wasn’t entirely sure what. Putting his emotional ties aside, Jackson decided to alert the FBI to his suspicions.
Jackson learned that his father, Guy W. Reffitt, was on his way to Washington, DC on January 5, but didn’t know exactly what his plans were. The very next day, he realised what was going on after watching news reports about the Capitol rioters.
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Speaking of his decision to alert the FBI, Jackson told CNN:
It just felt like the right thing, regardless of my emotions and how I felt and how much I loved my family and my dad.
I was worried. I didn’t think he would actually do anything bad, but him saying anything even remotely threatening to me and my sister and my family and government officials, it was just too much.
Jackson had noted changes in his father over the past four years, which had ‘snowballed’ into what he has now become. During this time period, Reffitt had reportedly become more active on the internet, and had recently become involved with extremists and members of the far right militia.
As reported by The New York Times, after Reffit returned from Washington, he told Jackson that he had stormed the Capitol, and threatened him, stating:
If you turn me in, you’re a traitor. And you know what happens to traitors. Traitors get shot.
However, by this stage, Jackson had already turned him in, having ‘assumed he was going to do something big’.
The FBI had contacted him during the riots to follow up on his earlier tip, which they hoped would help them ‘prove what they were trying to investigate’.
Reffitt was arrested on January 16, and now faces charges of obstruction of justice and of knowingly entering a restricted building or grounds without obtaining lawful authority.
FBI agents uncovered an AR-15 rifle and a pistol at Reffitt’s Texas home. He informed investigators that he had taken the pistol with him to the riots.
After the insurrection, Reffitt’s wife told investigators that her husband had been a member of far-right militia group, the Three Percenters.
Reflecting on his relationship with his father going forward, Jackson told The New York Times that he didn’t know whether or not his dad knew he was the one who had tipped off investigators:
I am afraid for him to know. Not for my life or anything, but for what he might think. […] We’ll get better over time. I know we will.
A GoFundMe page set up to help Jackson attend college has raised over $84,000 at the time of writing. You can donate for yourself here.
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The New York Times