"He would always tell me that he's going to do something big," the teen said. "I assumed he was going to do something big, and I didn't know what."
Two days after the Capitol riot on January 6, Guy W. Reffitt proudly told his family about his involvement in the violent insurrection. By January 11 however, his high spirits had gone down a few notches after learning that widely circulated video and photographic proof placed him at the scene of the pro-Trump riot. As fear replaced pride, Reffitt threatened his son Jackson, telling the 18-year-old that he would have no choice but to do his "duty" for his country and "do what he had to do" if the teen reported him to the police. "If you turn me in, you're a traitor and you know what happens to traitors... traitors get shot," the 48-year-old allegedly told Jackson, according to an FBI affidavit.
What A Guy: Prosecutors say Guy Reffitt of Texas stormed the Capitol & then threatened his children: “If you turn me in, you’re a traitor & you know what happens to traitors. Traitors get shot.” He said he’d “do what he has to do” & ... “put a bullet through” his daughters phone. pic.twitter.com/9VsHt3RjoL— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) January 18, 2021
Speaking to The New York Times in an interview over the weekend, Jackson revealed that he'd already reported his father to the FBI weeks before the riot. "He would always tell me that he's going to do something big," the teen said. "I assumed he was going to do something big, and I didn't know what." According to the affidavit from FBI agent Thomas B Ryan submitted in DC federal court last week, Reffitt's wife told investigators after the riot that he was a member of the Three Percenters, a far-right militia group founded on the false belief that only three percent of colonists fought the British during the Revolutionary War.
“I put my emotions behind me to do what I thought was right,” said Jackson Reffitt, who weeks before the Capitol siege alerted the FBI that his father was planning “something big.” https://t.co/jX3bd1gP8j— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 24, 2021
While investigating Reffitt's home in connection to his participation in the riot, FBI agents found an AR-15 rifle and a pistol — which he told investigators he had brought with him to Washington. Jackson said that while he learned that his father was headed to Washington the day before the riot, he wasn't aware of what he would be doing there. It was only when the teen saw images of rioters storming the Capitol on the news that he discovered what was happening and where his father was.
Read the affidavit. https://t.co/azY7mpPhOg— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) January 18, 2021
While it isn't clear what — if anything — the FBI did after Jackson first contacted the agency about his father, investigators did get in touch with him during the riots to follow up on his tip from weeks earlier. Jackson said he then helped "prove what they were trying to investigate." The teen explained that he had "just wanted someone to know" about his father's threats of "doing something big." "I didn't know what he was going to do, so I just did anything possible just to be on the safe side," he said.
NEW: "It was my moral compass," Jackson Reffitt said, after he called the @FBI on his father, Guy Reffitt, for alleged participation in rioting/insurrection at the Capitol Building on Jan. 6. "Traitors get shot," is what the father had reportedly, previously, told his son. @FOX4 pic.twitter.com/LK0GYYklM7— David Sentendrey (@DavidSFOX4) January 23, 2021
As of the time of the interview on Saturday, Jackson was unsure if his father knew that he had reported him to the federal authorities. "I am afraid for him to know," he said. "Not for my life or anything, but for what he might think." But he is hopeful that his relationship with his father could be repaired. "We'll get better over time," Jackson said. "I know we will." He added that his mother and two sisters "had no idea what I had done" until they saw a CNN interview he did with Chris Cuomo.
Yes I'm the kid on cnn I'm sorry I probably won't get around to responding to everyone. My mom and my sisters are absolutely ruined about the news from what I did. This is the first they are hearing about my involvement in my dad's arrest. Please send them love in any form.— Guy Jackson (@jackson_reffitt) January 23, 2021
Jackson received immense support from netizens after the interview went viral online, with many urging him to set up a GoFundMe. "Every penny is another course in college or me saving it for years to come," he wrote on the crowdfunding platform. "I might be kicked out of my house due to my involvement in my dad's case, so every cent might help me survive." Jackson — who is currently in his first semester studying political science at Collin College, a community college near his family's home in Wylie, Texas — has received over $83k in donations since setting up the GoFundMe page on Friday night.
Since everyone asked here is the GoFundMe I threw together. Thank you guys seriously https://t.co/JSA4nxIRzc— Guy Jackson (@jackson_reffitt) January 23, 2021
Addressing those who might be grappling with whether to come forward about someone they believe could be involved in something dangerous, Jackson said: "You're not just protecting yourself, but you're protecting them as well. I put my emotions behind me to do what I thought was right." While And though he does not regret his decision to report his father, the teen said, "He's still family, and it's still weird."