PORTLAND, Ore. – The man believed to have fatally shot a supporter of President Donald Trump following skirmishes between Black Lives Matter protesters and a pro-Trump caravan in Portland, Oregon, was a regular at the demonstrations that have roiled the Northwest city for months.
Michael Forest Reinoehl, 48, had described himself in a social media post as “100% ANTIFA,” and suggested the tactics of counter-protesters amounted to “warfare.” He had been shot at one protest and cited for having a gun at another. Authorities say he may have also offered his son money and marijuana in exchange for a weapon.
Reinoehl was himself killed Thursday when he pulled a gun as a federal task force attempted to apprehend him near Lacey, Washington, the U.S. Marshals Service said in a statement.
The arrest attempt came shortly after Reinoehl gave an interview to VICE News in which he appeared to acknowledge having killed Aaron “Jay” Danielson, 39, on Saturday. In the interview, Reinoehl said he “had no choice” but to do what he did because he thought he and his friend were about to be stabbed.
“You know, lots of lawyers suggest that I shouldn’t even be saying anything, but I feel it’s important that the world at least gets a little bit of what’s really going on,” Reinoehl told the TV news program. “I had no choice. I mean, I, I had a choice. I could have sat there and watched them kill a friend of mine of color. But I wasn’t going to do that.”
His sister said in a text message to AP that she told police he appeared to be a person caught on video running from the scene of the fatal shooting. She provided the statement on the condition of anonymity, citing dozens of threats her family had received since people online identified him from a video of the shooting.
Danielson was fatally shot in the chest Aug. 29 after some participants in a caravan of Trump supporters, estimated at about 600 cars, drove downtown and encountered Black Lives Matter protesters. Skirmishes broke out, with people in the caravan firing paintball weapons at people in the street. Video taken by a live-streamer appeared to show Danielson, a member of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer, spraying pepper spray just before he was shot.
Earlier, on July 5, police cited Reinoehl on allegations of possessing a loaded gun in a public place, resisting arrest and interfering with police. He was not booked into jail; Brent Weisberg, a spokesman for the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, said Monday the case remains under investigation and no charging decision had been made.