The man responsible for the fatal shooting of a supporter of a right-wing group in Portland was killed Thursday night while authorities attempted to arrest him. The US Marshals said a task force was trying to arrest Michael Forest Reinoehl in Washington state, as the Multnomah County Circuit Court wanted him on a charge of murder, The Olympian reports.
"Reinoehl was allegedly involved in an Aug. 29 shooting incident in Portland, Oregon, that resulted in a death," US Marshals said. Initially, the task for located him in Olympia and attempted to arrest him peacefully. But initial reports say he "produced a firearm, threatening the lives of law enforcement officers," the statement continued. "Taskforce members resounded to the threat and struck the suspect who was pronounced dead at the scene."
In an interview broadcast Thursday night by Vice News, Michael Reinoehl, 48, appeared to take responsibility for the killing of Aaron "Jay" Danielson at the Portland protest, saying that he acted in self-defense because he and a 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 said. "I had no choice. I mean, 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."
Reinoehl said he went downtown Saturday night to provide "security" after seeing Trump supporters parading in vehicles through the city. He described himself as "100 percent anti-fascist," though not a member of any Antifa group. Danielson, who was a supporter of the far-right group Patriot Prayer, was shot in the chest during the confrontation and died.
Reinoehl said he was "confident that I did not hit anyone innocent." He left the scene feeling "totally justified [that] had I not acted I am confident that my friend, and I'm sure I, would have been killed." Reinoehl said he decided to speak out because "there's been a lot of propaganda put out there."
"What they've done is they've tried to make it look like we're all terrorists. And they're trying to make me look like a murderer," he said.
Reacting to the interview, President Donald Trump tweeted moments after the broadcast. "Why aren't the Portland Police ARRESTING the cold-blooded killer of Aaron 'Jay' Danielson. Do your job, and do it fast. Everybody knows who this thug is. No wonder Portland is going to hell!" he wrote, tagging the Justice Department and the FBI.
On his social media, Reinoehl regularly posted photos and videos of protests in June and July, including one of the people chanting "F— Trump" as someone burned a Trump 2020 flag. In the months leading up to Saturday's fatal shooting of Danielson, Reinoehl had at least two run-ins with the law. At a July 5 protest, he was cited for possessing a loaded handgun in a public place, interfering with police, and resisting arrest.
A month earlier, Reinoehl and his son, 17, were arrested in Baker County, Oregon, just before 1 a.m. They were stopped by an Oregon state trooper and a county sheriff's deputy on June 8 for driving over 100 miles an hour in separate cars on Interstate 84, which runs east from Portland. Reinoehl was charged with driving under the influence of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of a firearm, driving while suspended, recklessly endangering another person (his daughter, who was a passenger in his car), and reckless driving. Reinoehl's son was arrested on DUI and a gun charge.