Michael Reinoehl Appeared to Target Man He Shot Dead in Portland: Police

September 5, 2020 Updated: September 5, 2020

A member of the far-left Antifa network appeared to target the man who was killed in Portland on Aug. 29, police said in an affidavit unsealed on Friday.

Surveillance footage from the city showed Michael Forest Reinoehl, 48, standing and looking around before hiding when he spotted Chandler Pappas and Aaron Joseph Danielson, who were linked to the right-wing Patriot Prayer group, a detective said.

Reinoehl ducked into the entry point to a parking garage when he saw Pappas and Danielson turn onto Southwest 3rd Avenue. Reinoehl “conceals himself, waits, and watches as Danielson and Pappas continue walking by,” homicide detective Rico Beniga wrote in the affidavit.

After the pair passed where he was hiding, Reinoehl began to emerge while reaching toward his waistband. Another person, designated Subject #2 followed Danielson and Pappas as they crossed the street. The shooting occurred shortly thereafter.

Following the shooting, Reinoehl can be seen backing into view, with his right arm raised and facing toward Danielson. The unidentified subject was already running. Reinoehl then turns and flees.

Epoch Times Photo
Chandler Pappas and Aaron Danielson, top left, walk down Southwest Alder Street as Michael Reinoehl, right, conceals himself from them, in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 29, 2020. On bottom, Reinoehl begins to move towards the pair as they cross the street, just before a fatal shooting occurred. (Portland Police Bureau)

Witnesses told police that people threatened Danielson, who then sprayed pepper spray before being shot.

One said three black males approached Danielson, with one saying, “we’re going to [expletive] kill you.” Another said a black male with short dreadlocks turned to another black male and said words similar to “Hey, there’s the guy” before Danielson pulled out a large can and sprayed it before being shot.

Justin Dunlap, who was livestreaming from downtown when the shooting occurred, told police that two people were approaching Danielson when one said words to the effect of, “You wanna go?” Danielson then used a spray bottle before two gunshots were fired.

Pappas told police that he and Danielson had gotten some drinks before walking around downtown. Pappas said he and Danielson were “facing off” with two people, according to the documents. Pappas then said he heard two gunshots.

Pappas said elsewhere that Danielson was “hunted” and “executed.”

An autopsy concluded that Danielson was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest. The manner of death was ruled as homicide. Danielson had a holstered firearm, according to the court documents. The firearm was not fired during the encounter.

Aaron Jay Danielson
Aaron “Jay” Danielson in an undated photograph. He was shot dead in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 29, 2020. (Danielson family via AP)
Chandler Pappas
Portland police hold back Chandler Pappas who was with the victim of a fatal shooting as he reacts in minutes after the incident, in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 29, 2020. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Reinoehl was killed by law enforcement officers who tried to arrest him late Thursday.

Numerous members of the public sent tips to police, including images of the suspect from earlier in the evening and at other protests or riots in recent weeks. The images showed how Reinoehl often wore an unusual vest and had a distinctive fist tattoo on his neck. He also favored wearing baseball caps.

Reinoehl’s interview in July with Bloomberg News, in which he said he intervened in an altercation and was struck by a bullet in his arm, was reviewed by police, as was his criminal history.

Reinoehl was arrested that month for possessing a loaded gun during a riot. The charges were still being reviewed, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office for Multnomah County, which includes Portland, told The Epoch Times before Reinoehl died.

Reinoehl was taken into custody in June after speeding at 111 mph in Baker City, Oregon, a town about 300 miles southwest of Portland.

An Oregon State Police officer said he and another driver, who was identified as his 17-year-old son, appeared to be racing one another, according to a summary of the incident obtained by The Epoch Times.

portland suspect
In this still image from video, Michael Forest Reinoehl speaks to a reporter about the shooting in Portland, Ore., in an undated interview. (Vice News)
Epoch Times Photo
Investigators with the Washington State Crime Lab collect evidence at Tanglewilde Terrace, where law enforcement officers shot a man reported to be Michael Forest Reinoehl, in Lacey, Wash., Sept. 3, 2020. (Caitlin Ochs/Reuters)

Reinoehl had a loaded, concealed Glock pistol in his car despite not having a concealed handgun license. He was arrested on driving under the influence, unlawful possession of a firearm, and endangering the welfare of a minor, among other charges.

Reinoehl’s 11-year-old daughter was in his vehicle. The girl was seen wielding a baseball bat while with Reinoehl at a demonstration in Portland just one day before the shooting.

A detective who had been conducting a criminal investigation into Reinoehl’s son, looked through his phone during the probe, with permission from the boy.

Among the texts was one labeled “Dad” sent on Aug. 7 that stated: “Sell me the gun for a quarter pound of weed and $100 i’m getting tired of this [expletive] I need a piece now.”

Based on the information gathered, a detective said probable cause existed that Reinoehl committed murder. A judge signed off on the warrant request, and on a separate request for a search warrant for the residence where the suspect and his son lived.

Police recovered two spent casings on the street, in addition to a metal canister of “Bear Attack Deterrent” and a black metal object officers said was an expandable metal baton.

They had not found the gun used in the killing, according to the court documents.

portland victim
A man is treated after being shot in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 29, 2020. (Paula Bronstein/AP Photo)
Epoch Times Photo
Joey Gibson, leader of Patriot Prayer, arrives at the scene of a shooting in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 29, 2020. (Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/Reuters)

Reinoehl admitted to killing Danielson in an interview with Vice News that was released Thursday, shortly before a U.S. Marshals Service task force found him in Washington state.

Reinoehl claimed that he “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,” he said.

“Had I not acted, I am confident that my friend, and I’m sure I, would have been killed.”

Reinoehl said on social media that he was “100% ANTIFA.” Antifa, or anti-fascist, is a far-left, anarcho-communist network that’s been involved in brutal violence and destruction in the United States in recent years, including many riots that have taken place since May.

“I’ve talked to every police chief in every city where there has been major violence and they all have identified Antifa as the ramrod for the violence,” Attorney General William Barr said this week. He commended law enforcement officers for tracking down Reinoehl, calling him ” a dangerous fugitive, admitted Antifa member, and suspected murderer.”

Epoch Times Photo
A witness of the fatal Aug. 29, 2020, shooting in Portland that police are seeking. (Portland Police Bureau)

Reinoehl wrote that Antifa members “do not want violence but we will not run from it either!”

“It will be a war and like all war there will be casualties,” he wrote.

Also on Friday, Portland police released an image they said showed a person who was present and witnessed the shooting of Danielson.

Anyone with information about the person was asked to contact the bureau.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber