A man suspected of fatally shooting a supporter of a right-wing group that had gathered in Portland, Oregon, last week was killed by police officers on Thursday night, according to U.S. Marshals.
Michael Reinoehl, 48, was killed by law enforcement in Lacey, Washington, after a federal task force attempted to arrest him, The New York Times and The Associated Press reported. The AP reported that Reinoehl was suspected in the killing of Aaron “Jay” Danielson during a clash between the right-wing group Patriot Prayer and anti-racism protesters last week.
The AP, citing a senior Justice Department official, said Reinoehl pulled a gun during the arrest attempt before he was shot. The U.S. Marshals added early Friday morning Reinoehl was killed after officers attempted to “peacefully arrest him.”
“Initial reports indicate the suspect produced a firearm, threatening the lives of law enforcement officers,” the agency said in a statement. “Task force members responded to the threat and struck the suspect who was pronounced dead at the scene.”
Reinoehl appeared to admit to the shooting in an interview with Vice News published Thursday, saying he feared both he and a friend were about to be stabbed by a supporter of the Patriot Prayer group.
“I had no choice,” Reinoehl told Vice News. “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.”
Reinoehl was identified as the suspect in the shooting of Danielson just hours after the man was found lying dead on the Portland street with a gunshot wound to his chest. The killing happened after Patriot Prayer organized a large, nearly 1,000-car caravan that drove through Portland before it was met with counterprotesters.
At times, some in the caravan used paintball guns to shoot the counter-demonstrators, who threw objects at the caravan.
Reinoehl had been a regular presence at Black Lives Matter protests in Portland that have continued since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. Vice reported he was arrested in July for carrying a loaded gun at one demonstration and for resisting arrest, and he later said he was shot in the arm by a separate right-wing protester during a skirmish.
The New York Times said Reinoehl had cast himself as a security presence at the anti-racism demonstrations, describing himself as “100% ANTIFA all the way.”
“I am willing to fight for my brothers and sisters!” he wrote on Instagram in June. “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!”
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