“He would always tell me that he’s going to do something big,” Reffitt, who is 18, told the New York Times. “I assumed he was going to do something big, and I didn’t know what.”
His father, Guy Reffitt, stormed the Capitol earlier this month as a member of the far-right militia group the Three Percenters. After returning from D.C., the elder Reffit reportedly threatened to “do what he had to do” if his son turned him in.
According to the Times, Jackson Reffitt told federal investigators that his father said, “If you turn me in, you’re a traitor. And you know what happens to traitors. Traitors get shot.”
The FBI didn’t contact Reffitt about his report until the riot was taking place. When they raided the family’s Texas home, authorities found an AR-15 rifle and a pistol. Reffitt took the pistol with him to Washington.
His father was later arrested on Jan. 16 and faces federal charges of obstruction of justice and of knowingly entering a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority.
The rest of the Reffitt family had no idea about Jackson’s tip to the federal agents until he did an interview on CNN with Chris Cuomo. The 18-year-old is now staying in an unknown location for his safety, and using his girlfriend’s phone to communicate since his parents shut off his service.
He also launched a GoFundMe after his interview on CNN garnered support online.
“Every penny is another course in college or me saving it for years to come,” he wrote on his GoFundMe page. “I might be kicked out of my house due to my involvement in my dad’s case, so every cent might help me survive.”
So far Reffitt has raised nearly $140,000 of his $200,000 goal in mere days, which will allow him to transfer from the community college he attends to a university outside his Dallas suburb.
He told the Times he has no regrets about turning in his father, though he admits their relationship is “still weird.”
“I put my emotions behind me to do what I thought was right,” he said.