Guy Reffitt threatened to kill his children if they turned him in after he returned from the insurrection on January 6.
It's one year to one of the darkest days in America and the fallout of the insurrection continues to haunt so many families. While Republicans appear to be distancing themselves from the insurrection on January 6, 2021, many people instigated to march to Capitol Hill by GOP leaders languish in jail and face long prison sentences. One of them is Guy Reffitt, a member of the Texas Three Percenters militia, who took an AR-15 rifle and a Smith & Wesson pistol before heading out to Capitol Hill from Texas in his wife's car on January 5th last year. Guy Reffitt got arrested days after he stormed Capitol Hill, thanks to his son, Jackson, who had turned him in. Reffitt allegedly charged at police officers with such force that they used fire projectiles and pepper spray to hold him back, reported Vice News.
Reffitt doesn't regret his actions but his family is collateral damage to what he did. Jackson, who reported his father to the FBI, has left home, while his sisters Peyton and Sarah, believe their father shouldn't have stormed the Capitol but doesn't deserve prison time. Their mother, Nicole, supports her husband's decision to march to the Capitol but understands why her son turned him in. Apart from all this, their family has been getting hate from all sides of the political spectrum. There are hundreds of families facing a similar fallout from the insurrection.
Reffitt was caught on camera standing on a staircase on the West Front of the Capitol and holding his hand up as a police officer sprays him in the face. Moments later, he can be seen flushing out his eyes with a bottle of water. Reffitt drove back home and realized the incident had gotten way out of hand and he could be arrested. He came home and threatened his family. “If you turn me in, you’re a traitor, and you know what happens to traitors… Traitors get shot,” he reportedly told them. He threatened to shoot his daughter's phone when he heard her speaking to someone. Unbeknownst to Reffitt, his son had already alerted the FBI about him. On January 16, federal marshals turned up at Reffitt’s house and took him into custody. Jackson had actually reported his father's behavior to the FBI in December 2020 itself. Jackson felt his father was getting radicalized and kept talking about doing "something big.”
Jackson was paranoid about his father's behavior as he went to more protests and started bringing guns home. "It probably would have gotten worse and worse until someone broke into our house, or he killed someone or somebody killed him,” Jackson told Vice News. The 17-year-old learned his father was at Capitol Hill as his father was sharing images from the scene in the family chat group. While the riot was going on, the FBI checked with Jackson if his father was involved and the 17-year-old confirmed he was.
Reffitt was charged with attacking a Capitol Police officer, bringing a weapon onto Capitol grounds, obstructing the process of certifying President Joe Biden’s victory and also threatening his own children. He is now set to become the first Capitol rioter to stand trial, next month, and faces decades in prison. FBI has relied on photo evidence and tips from family members, friends and acquaintances to nab many of the rioters from January 6. Jackson believes his father did wrong and wants him to take a plea deal as it saves their family "months of trouble." Jackson doesn't regret turning his father in but there was one profound moment he wondered if he'd done the wrong thing. Reffitt sent him a letter saying he had bonded with his fellow rioters and boasted that they could have overthrown the government if they wanted. Jackson is now concerned he's getting more radicalized in jail. "I made him more enthusiastic about what he’s done,” said Jackson.
Peyton is heartbroken to see their family torn apart. “Every day I just feel like I get stabbed over and over again," she said. Peyton is now suffering from anxiety, having endured hurt from either side of the political divide. While Jackson took his stance, Peyton and Sarah have been forced to endure hate while defending both their father and brother from online attacks and death threats. Jackson has moved out of the family home and his sister feels hard done by his actions. “He hasn't tried to protect us in any way, even emotionally,” said Sarah, adding that her brother promised to take care of the family but moved out at the first chance. Peyton and Jackson are due to testify against their father in court. “It will suck. I still feel guilty, but this is the best-case scenario,” said Jackson. Peyton believes her father was just being a drama queen and doesn't deserve any more punishment. Reffitt's actions changed the course of his family forever and any chance of them all living together as a family again seems near impossible. While GOP leaders ignore the January 6 anniversary and carry on, many others don't have that luxury and this includes even people who had no hand in the attack, like Peyton, Sarah and Jackson.