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Portland’s Antifa gunman appeared to target victim, police say

The avowed antifa supporter who was a suspect in the killing of a Patriot Prayer member during a clash of opposing groups in Portland, Ore., last Saturday appeared to be targeting the victim prior to the shooting, according to court documents unsealed Friday.

Michael Forest Reinoehl, 48, allegedly hid in a parking garage, waiting for Aaron “Jay” Danielson, 39, and another Patriot Prayer member, the documents say, according to OregonLive.com.

Reinoehl, who claimed online to be a “100 % ANTIFA” anti-fascist and said he worked security for Black Lives Matter protests, then allegedly shot at Danielson twice, hitting him once in the chest and killing him.

Reinoehl later told Vice in an interview he was not a member of antifa but supported its efforts.

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Security footage shows Reinoehl in an alcove of the parking garage while Danielson and a friend walk by, police said. 

Security footage shows Reinoehl in an alcove of the parking garage while Danielson and a friend walk by, police said. 
(Portland Police)

Then on Thursday, Reinoehl himself was fatally shot by a federal fugitive task force who tracked the suspect to Lacey, Wash., about 120 miles north of Portland, when he tried to elude arrest on second-degree murder charges, authorities have said. Reinoehl “produced a handgun” during the arrest but it was unclear if he fired at officers, police said.

District Attorney Mike Schmidt in Multnomah County, Ore., which includes Portland, said Friday that authorities “still do not have a full understanding” of the circumstances of Reinoehl’s death, according to the Seattle Times.

“The apprehension of a fugitive, in particular one under investigation for murder, is especially dangerous for law enforcement,” he said, adding he was, “thankful that no one else was injured or killed.”

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The affidavit also said Reinoehl texted his son on Aug. 7.

“Sell me the gun for a quarter pound of weed and $100 I’m getting tired of this s— I need a piece now,” the message said, according to OregonLive.com.

Michael Reinoehl is seen in Portland, Ore., in the area where Aaron Danielson was fatally shot, Aug. 29, 2020. (Portland Police)

Michael Reinoehl is seen in Portland, Ore., in the area where Aaron Danielson was fatally shot, Aug. 29, 2020. (Portland Police)

The court documents are backed up by a sworn officer statement that says security footage from the parking garage shows Reinohel targeting Danielson.

The security footage allegedly shows Reinoehl go into the garage after spotting Danielson and the other man. After Danielson passes by, Reinoehl comes out and follows the pair.

Reinoehl “conceals himself, waits and watches” Homicide Detective Rico Beniga writes in the probable cause affidavit.

“The shooting occurs shortly thereafter and is not captured on the surveillance video,” Beniga writes, according to the Times. Danielson was pronounced dead at the scene.

After reviewing footage shot by a live streamer, Beniga said it appears Reinoehl shot a can of bear spray that Danielson was carrying, sending the substance spraying. The second shot killed him.

While searching Reinoehl’s home, investigators found ammunition that matched the caliber of the bullet that killed Danielson and the clothes he wore that night but no gun, according to OregonLive.com.

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In a Thursday interview posted on the Vice website, Reinoehl had claimed he killed Danielson in self-defense.

“I had no choice,” he said, adding he and a friend were about to be stabbed by Danielson and the other Patriot Prayer member. “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.”

The footage allegedly shows Reinoehl raise his right arm toward Danielson then he’s seen running away.

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