Protester Suspected In Portland Shooting Death Killed By Law Enforcement

Law enforcement officers killed Michael Forest Reinoehl on Thursday as they attempted to arrest him in connection to the fatal shooting of a right-wing activist in Portland, Oregon.

What We Know:

  • Reinoehl, 48, was shot by officers from a federally led fugitive task force during an encounter in Lacey, Washington. Lieutenant Ray Brady of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said in an interview that the suspect had exited an apartment and got into a vehicle. “As they attempted to apprehend him, there was gunfire,” Brady said. He said four law enforcement officers fired their weapons. The officers at the scene reported that Reinoehl was armed, but that has not been confirmed by investigators as of Friday morning.
  • Earlier on Thursday, an arrest warrant had been issued by Portland police for Reinoehl, just hours after Vice News published an interview with him in which he appeared to admit to the August 29 shooting, saying, “I had no choice.”
  • Portland police had been investigating the shooting, which led to the death of Aaron J. Danielson, one of the supporters of President Trump who came into downtown Portland on Saturday and clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters. Reinoehl, who lived in the Portland area, had been a consistent presence at the city’s demonstrations over recent weeks, aiding the protesters with security. He suggested on social media that the struggle was becoming a war where “there will be casualties”.
  • “I am 100% ANTIFA all the way!” he posted on Instagram in June, referring to the loose collection of activists who have mobilized to oppose groups they see as fascist or racist. “I am willing to fight for my brothers and sisters! Even if some of them are too ignorant to realize what antifa truly stands for. We do not want violence but we will not run from it either!”
  • During the Vice interview, Reinoehl claimed that he had acted in self-defense, saying that he believed he and his friend were about to be stabbed. “I could have sat there and watched them kill a friend of mine of color, but I wasn’t going to do that,” he said.
  • The task force that attempted to arrest Reinoehl on Thursday included members of the U.S. Marshals Service, the Lakewood Police Department, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, and the Washington State Department of Corrections. Officers closed in on Reinoehl on a residential street in Lacey, about two hours north of Portland.
  • According to a neighbor located near the scene, Chad Smith said he was standing outside at about 6:45 pm when he saw two SUV’s race towards the complex. He said he heard about a minute and a half of gunshots and then saw a man walking backward next to a white pickup truck, holding what appeared to be a gun, and officers firing in his direction.
  • Another resident nearby, Trevor Brown, agreed with Smith, saying he heard several shots fired and saw as many as four police officers in the road, who fired three or four times. He said he then saw Reinoehl lying on the ground. A third nearby resident, Jashon Spencer, also heard the gunshots after which he went outside and said he saw a bloodied man in the street and took a video which showed a law enforcement officer attempting CPR.
  • After the shooting, a few hundred protestors gathered in front of a Portland police station in a residential area chanting racial justice slogans as they have on most nights since May following the death of George Floyd, although the mood was described as relatively calm. “There’s blood on your hands. You murdered Michael Reinoehl,” someone had posted in the street. “Michael was murdered,” said another posting. Later in the evening, police officers charged the crowd and took one person into custody.
  • On the night of the Portland shooting that led to the death of Danielson, the caravan of Trump supporters he was a part of drove through downtown Portland where protestors had been congregating regularly. Once there, it is said that some Trump supporters began shooting paintballs into the crowd, while people on the streets threw objects back at them. Fistfights began to break out.
  • A video appeared to show Danielson, who was wearing a hat with the insignia of the far-right group Patriot Prayer, and Reinoehl on a street along with a few other people. Justin Dunlap, who recorded the video said it appeared that Danielson reached to his hip, looking like he was “pulling a gun”. However, according to another video taken during the encounter, someone can be heard warning Reinoehl that Danielson was pulling out a can of mace. “He’s macing you, he’s pulling it out,” the person warned. It appeared from the video that Danielson sprayed the mace just as two gunshots could be heard, and Danielson went down.

As of now, it is unclear why Reinoehl was in Lacey as it is believed by law enforcement agents that he did not live at the address.