Suspect in Portland shooting killed by police during arrest in Washington

By Deborah Bloom PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) - Police shot and killed a self-declared anti-fascist activist in Washington state on Thursday as they moved in to arrest him on suspicion he fatally shot a right-wing counterprotester last weekend in Portland, Oregon, officials said.

Reuters September 05, 2020 00:11:21 IST
Suspect in Portland shooting killed by police during arrest in Washington

Suspect in Portland shooting killed by police during arrest in Washington

By Deborah Bloom

PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) - Police shot and killed a self-declared anti-fascist activist in Washington state on Thursday as they moved in to arrest him on suspicion he fatally shot a right-wing counterprotester last weekend in Portland, Oregon, officials said.

Michael Reinoehl, 48, was wanted on a charge of murder and was armed with a handgun when members of a U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force shot him dead in Olympia, Washington, after he left an apartment building and got in a car around 7:30 p.m., according to the Marshals Service and the Thurston County Sheriff's Office.

"We can confirm at this time that the suspect was armed with a handgun," the Thurston County Sheriff's Office, which is responsible for investigating the incident, said in a statement on Friday.

"During the attempt to apprehend him, shots were fired at the suspect in the vehicle and he fled from the vehicle on foot. Additional shots were fired at the suspect and he was later pronounced deceased at the location," the sheriff's office statement said.

A Multnomah County, Oregon court charged Reinhoel with the murder of Aaron Danielson, 39 and Portland police issued a warrant for his arrest asking U.S. marshals to locate him.

"It sounded like fireworks, it was that many shots," bystander Jashon Spencer said in an online video.

Reinoehl, who had provided security for Black Lives Matter protests in Portland, was allegedly involved in the shooting of Aaron Danielson on Saturday night, the Marshal's Service said.

Danielson, 39, was among a caravan of supporters of Republican President Donald Trump who rode in pickup trucks into downtown Portland and clashed with protesters demonstrating against racial injustice and police brutality.

This marks the first case in which the Justice Department has directly linked a demonstrator in Portland to a far-left political movement.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Oregon confirmed that none of the defendants from those protests facing federal charges have been linked to any particular group or political ideology.

"The tracking down of Reinoehl - a dangerous fugitive, admitted Antifa member, and suspected murderer - is a significant accomplishment in the ongoing effort to restore law and order to Portland and other cities," U.S. Attorney General William Barr said in a statement. "Antifa" refers to anti-fascist groups.

Portland has seen escalating clashes between right- and left-wing groups in recent weeks following nearly 100 days of protests since George Floyd, a Black man, died in Minneapolis on May 25 after a white police officer knelt on his neck.

'NO CHOICE'

Reinoehl was killed hours after Vice News broadcast a video in which he appeared to admit he had shot Danielson and said he acted in self-defense.

"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," he said in the video, adding he feared he would be stabbed.

Bystander video showed two men approaching Danielson and a friend, one saying "Hey, we got one over here, we got a couple over here," and another "Pull it out," before two shots were fired.

“I was confident that I did not hit anyone innocent. And I made my exit,” Reinhoel said in the Vice interview.

He was previously cited for carrying a loaded gun at a July 5 Portland protest, resisting arrest and interfering with police, according to The Oregonian newspaper. The charges were subsequently dropped, the newspaper reported.

In social media posts Reinoehl, a father of two, described himself as a professional snowboarder, an Army veteran and "100% ANTIFA."

He said he was prepared to fight to change the "course of humanity."

"It will be a war and like all wars there will be casualties," he said in a June 16 Instagram post.

Trump on Thursday demanded police arrest Reinoehl.

"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 tweeted.

(Reporting by Deborah Bloom; additional reporting by Ann Maria Shibu, Andrew Hay, Gabriella Borter, Mark Hosenball and Sarah N. Lynch; editing by Mike Collett-White and Jonathan Oatis)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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