Federal agents shot and killed Michael Reinoehl, the main suspect in the fatal shooting of a member of a far-right group on Saturday night, while trying to arrest him Thursday, The New York Times and other news organizations report. Portland police had issued a warrant for Reinoehl’s arrest earlier in the day. When officers on a federal fugitive task force tracked him down to an apartment in Lacey, Washington, Reinoehl pulled a gun, a senior Justice Department official told The Associated Press. Witnesses told the Times that Reinoehl was getting into a vehicle to escape.
Reinoehl, 48, more or less confessed Thursday to shooting Aaron “Jay” Danielson in a confrontation after supporters of President Trump drove trucks through downtown Portland, but he insisted he was acting in self-defense. “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 a freelance videographer for Vice News Tonight. “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.”
Reinoehl, a frequent participant in the months-long Portland protests against police violence and racial injustice, told Vice News he was a supporter of anti-fascist groups but not an antifa “member.” Video of the shooting appears to show Danielson, who belonged to the Patriot Prayer group, drawing a can of bear mace and spraying Reinoehl and another person before Reinoehl fired. Chandler Pappas, who was with Danielson when he was shot, told Fox News on Thursday he thinks they were targeted for wearing Patriot Prayer hats.
The clashes in Portland between anti-racism protesters and right-wing counter-protesters have escalated over the summer, and Reinoehl, who helped provide security for the protesters, was shot in the arm breaking up a fight in July. On Aug. 15, a right-wing demonstrators hired two shots from inside his vehicle, and a week later another counter-protesters pulled out a gun during a clash. Oregon’s governor and a broad array of civil groups urged a stop to the violence on Thursday. You can watch Reinoehl’s interview and Vice News’ attempt to put it in context below. Peter Weber