New details have emerged in the fatal shooting of Michael Forest Reinoehl, who was accused of gunning down a man during a political rally in Portland.
Law enforcement officers from a federal task force led by the FBI and U.S Marshal Service were conducting surveillance outside an apartment complex in Lacey, Wash., roughly 120 miles north of the Oregon city, when 48-year-old Reinoehl left the building at approximately 7:30 p.m. local time Thursday, officials and law enforcement sources told Fox News.
A Washington-based law enforcement source told Fox News four members had learned that Reinoehl was inside an apartment located within the complex and were waiting for a SWAT team to arrive to arrest Reinoehl when he came out of the house and got into a car. The officers decided to immediately make a traffic stop, the source said.
As they did so, Reinoehl moved a short distance, before stopping and exiting his vehicle, according to the source.
Thurston County Sheriff’s Lt. Ray Brady said the suspect, identified by sources as Reinoehl, said officers initially shot at the vehicle in an attempt to stop him. Federal agents had “attempted to peacefully arrest him,” different sources told Fox News.
As Reinoehl fled on foot, he allegedly pulled out a gun, Brady said in a press release. Officers then shot at and struck Reinoehl, who was pronounced dead at the scene.Two witnesses told The Olympian they saw two sports utility vehicles pull up to a man, believed to be Reinoehl, who was inside a car. The man then opened fire using what the witnesses said appeared to be an assault rifle, according to reports.
The witnesses told The Olympian they heard roughly 40 to 50 shots being fired before officers shot back.
Brady later identified Reinoehl’s weapon as a handgun. Brady said during a news conference following the shooting that it wasn’t immediately clear how many bullets were fired, according to both reports.
An investigation into the shooting will be conducted by the Region 3 Critical Incident Investigation Team, which is comprised of multiple local and state law enforcement agencies, the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.
Reinoehl was the prime suspect in the death of 39-year-old Aaron “Jay” Danielson, who was shot in the chest Saturday night, officials told Fox News.
Federal agents from the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service had located Reinoehl on Thursday after a warrant was issued for his arrest.
The suspect was alone at the time of the shooting, Brady said, with no children or other people present.
Brady said he doesn’t think the suspect lived at the address where he was shot, and it’s not clear what brought him to Lacey.
“We don’t know that specifically yet,” Brady said. “I do not believe that was his residence.”
According to a previous report by The Oregonian, Reinoehl has identified himself as anti-fascist and, in one post, from June 16, wrote: “I am 100 % ANTIFA all the way!”
“Every Revolution needs people that are willing and ready to fight,” he allegedly wrote, according to the report. “There are so many of us protesters that are just protesting without a clue of where that will lead. That’s just the beginning that’s that where the fight starts. If that’s as far as you can take it thank you for your participation but please stand aside and support the ones that are willing to fight. I am 100 % ANTIFA all the way! I am willing to fight for my brothers and sisters! … We do not want violence but we will not run from it either! … Today’s protesters and antifa are my brothers in arms.”
Police on July 5 cited Reinoehl on allegations of possessing a loaded gun in a public place, resisting arrest and interfering with police.
On July 26, Reinoehl was shot near his elbow after he got involved in a scuffle between an armed White man and a group of young people of color. The man who was carrying the gun, Aaron Scott Collins, told The Oregonian/OregonLive that he and a friend had just left a bar when they saw the group harassing an older Black man. His friend began filming them with a phone, and the group confronted them, calling them Nazis, he said.
Reinoehl was also wanted on a warrant out of Baker County in Eastern Oregon, where court records show he skipped a hearing related to a June case in which he has been charged with driving under the influence of controlled substances, reckless driving, reckless endangerment and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Police said he drove on an interstate at up to 111 mph with his daughter in the car, while racing his 17-year-old son, who was in a different vehicle.
Earlier on Thursday, Vice, a news website, published an interview with Reinoehl in which he told the outlet he was defending himself and a friend when he shot and killed Danielson.
“I had no choice,” Reinoehl told Vice. “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 he was trying to help a friend who was being threatened by a man with a knife.
“Had I stepped forward, he would have maced or stabbed me,” he told Vice.
Two shots can be heard in moments recorded on video that was obtained by The Oregonian and shared by Vice.
“The guy who shot ran off,” the person who captured the footage is heard saying.
Reinoehl told Vice he “was confident that [he] did not hit anyone innocent.”
Protests have erupted daily in the Pacific Northwest city since the death of George Floyd, who was Black, while in the custody of Minneapolis police on May 25.
With unruly demonstrations in Portland nearing the 100-day mark, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and other Democratic leaders on Thursday called for an end to violence even as federal agents were continuing to arrest protesters who allegedly assaulted law enforcement officers.
“The violence must stop,” Brown wrote. “There is no place for white supremacy or vigilantism in Oregon. All who perpetrate violent crimes must be held equally accountable.”
The statement does not single out the small minority of left-wing protesters who have been setting fires, vandalizing buildings and throwing objects at police. Brown’s spokesman, Charles Boyle, said it “is a collective call to action for an end to violence in Portland and affirms that those who commit violent acts must be held accountable.”
Fox News’ Dan Springer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.