A son called law enforcement after his father told him he was ‘planning something big’
After domestic terrorists took over the Capitol on Jan. 6, leaving the nation’s congressional members asking questions about safety and integrity, ultimately leading to another Trump impeachment, Jackson Reffitt had a chilling conversation with his father, Guy Reffitt, that rattled him to the core.
According to The New York Times, Jackson Reffitt said his father, who has been charged in the Capitol riots, told him that he stormed the building: “If you turn me in, you’re a traitor. And you know what happens to traitors. Traitors get shot.”
The Times reports Jackson actually called the law enforcement agency weeks before the Capitol riots. “He would always tell me that he’s going to do something big,” the younger Reffitt said in a phone interview on Saturday. “I assumed he was going to do something big, and I didn’t know what.”
Jackson has a message for others who might be afraid to turn in someone they love who might be engaged in dangerous behavior, “you’re not just protecting yourself, but you’re protecting them as well,” he said.
The amount of courage it took for Jackson to contact authorities cannot be understated. Twitter users praised the teen for making the difficult choice to turn in his father.
“I put my emotions behind me to do what I thought was right,” Reffitt said about reporting his father. While he knows it was the right thing to do and he doesn’t have any regrets, “He’s still family, and it’s still weird,” he says.
When asked if his father was aware Jackson had been the one to turn him in, Jackson gave a candid reply.
“I am afraid for him to know,” he said. “Not for my life or anything, but for what he might think.” But he said he was hopeful that his relationship with his father could be repaired.
His mother and two sisters had no idea Jackson had tipped off the FBI until they saw an interview he did with CNN’s Chris Cuomo. After taking to Twitter to confirm his identity, Reffitt set up a GoFundMe at the urging of his followers. “Every penny is another course in college or me saving it for years to come,” he wrote. “I might be kicked out of my house due to my involvement in my dad’s case, so every cent might help me survive.” At the moment the fundraiser has collected over $111,000.
“I might be kicked out of my house due to my involvement in my dad’s case,” Jackson posted. “so every cent might help me survive.”
FBI agents searched the elder Reffitt’s home and found an AR-15 rifle and a pistol. The younger Reffitt said that he knew his father was going to Washington, but he didn’t know why.
“I didn’t know what he was going to do, so I just did anything possible just to be on the safe side,” he added.
Jackson’s father was arrested on January 16; he faces charges of obstruction of justice and of knowingly entering a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority.
The Times went on to say that Jackson is no longer staying at his family’s home; the teen declined to say where he was out of fear for his safety. Jackson used his girlfriend’s phone to conduct the Times interview because his family cut off the service to his phone, he said.