U.S. law enforcement officers shot and killed a man suspected of being the gunman who killed another man in Portland, Oregon last week, the U.S. Marshal Service said Friday.
Officials identified the suspected gunman as 48-year-old Michael Forest Reinoehl. They said he was killed as federal agents attempted to arrest him near Lacey, Washington. Lacey is about 93 kilometers north of Portland.
Reinoehl was wanted in the killing of 39-year-old Aaron “Jay” Danielson, who was a supporter of the group Patriot Prayer.
The U.S. Marshals Service said that “the suspect produced a firearm, threatening the lives of law enforcement officers.” The officers then shot and killed him.
On Thursday, Portland’s Police Bureau had approved orders calling for Reinoehl’s arrest. It asked federal law enforcement officials to help find him.
Reinoehl had described himself in a social media post as a snowboarder, former Army soldier and “100% ANTIFA.” He reportedly had attended and helped with security for anti-racism demonstrations in Portland.
Antifa, short for the term anti-fascists, is a loosely organized political movement. Members oppose groups that they consider fascist. They are also against racial and economic injustice.
Reinoehl appeared to say that he was involved in the shooting of Danielson in a Vice News video found on the internet just hours before his death.
“It was a free for all and the police were letting it happen,” Reinoehl said. “Had I not acted, I am confident that my friend and I’m sure I would have been killed because I wasn’t going to stand there and let something happen,” he added.
“I could have sat there and watched them kill a friend of mine of color. But I wasn’t going to do that.”
Protests, including demonstrations by Black Lives Matter supporters, have taken place daily in Portland since the police killing of George Floyd. The Minnesota man died in May after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Patriot Prayer member
Last Saturday, supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump held an event called “Trump 2020 Cruise Rally in Portland.” About 600 vehicles with Trump signs drove through the city.
Videos taken that day show Trump supporters shooting paintballs and spraying Black Lives Matter protesters. They, in turn, threw objects at the vehicles and tried to block them.
Aaron “Jay” Danielson told The Portland Tribune that he was there to provide “security services” for the event. He had a Patriot Prayer hat, was wearing military clothing and armed with knives, a paintball gun and mace.
Danielson was shot to death later that night.
The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Patriot Prayer as “a far-right group” in the Pacific Northwest. It says the group has organized events with Proud Boys and other extremist groups.
Joey Gibson, the leader of Patriot Prayer, has urged members and supporters to be armed at these events, saying, “Everyone should be carrying around guns at all times, especially people in our situation.”
As the protests nearing the 100-day mark, Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown and local leaders called for an end to the violence. Brown wrote, “There is no place for white supremacy or vigilantism in Oregon.”
I'm John Russell.
Hai Do wrote this story for Learning English with additional reporting from the Associated Press and Reuters. George Grow was the editor.
Words in This Story
snowboarder - n. a person who uses a board shaped like wide ski to go downhill
fascist - n. an organized society in which government ruled by a dictator
loosely - adv. not closely joined or united
kneel - v. (past tense, knelt) to move your body in which a knee is on something
spray - v. force stream of small drops of liquid (on someone or something)
far-right - n. the extreme right wing of a political or a group