Son Tipped Off F.B.I. About His Father, Who Is Charged in Capitol Riot


Two days after the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, Jackson Reffitt’s father, Guy W. Reffitt, returned to the family’s home in Texas. He told his son that he had stormed the Capitol, according to an F.B.I. affidavit.

Then his father leveled a threat: If Jackson, 18, reported him to the police, he would have no choice but to do his “duty” for his country and “do what he had to do.”

In interviews with investigators, Jackson Reffitt said his father told him: “If you turn me in, you’re a traitor. And you know what happens to traitors. Traitors get shot.”

But he had already reported his father to the F.B.I. weeks before the riot.

“He would always tell me that he’s going to do something big,” the younger Mr. Reffitt said in a phone interview on Saturday. “I assumed he was going to do something big, and I didn’t know what.”

Mr. Reffitt was not staying at his family’s home, and he declined to say where he was for fear of his safety. He was using his girlfriend’s phone because his family had disconnected his, he said.

He said he posted the GoFundMe page shortly before going to bed on Friday, expecting a few thousand dollars would be raised. When he woke up on Saturday, the page had raised more than $20,000.

As of Sunday afternoon, more than 1,800 donations were pledged, amounting to more than $58,000.

Mr. Reffitt is in his first semester studying political science at Collin College, a community college near his family’s home in Wylie, Texas, a Dallas suburb. When asked if the money would cover the rest of his undergraduate education, he said: “Oh man, you have no idea. I’m going to go on to a university now.”

As for others grappling with whether to come forward about someone they believe could be involved in something dangerous, “you’re not just protecting yourself, but you’re protecting them as well,” he said.

“I put my emotions behind me to do what I thought was right,” Mr. Reffitt said of reporting his father. And though he does not regret his decision, he said, “He’s still family, and it’s still weird.”

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