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On Friday, Portland’s District Attorney released a charging affidavit detailing their investigation into and plans to charge Michael Forest Reinoehl, an Antifa supporter who allegedly gunned down Aaron “Jay” Danielson, a member of a group called “Patriot Prayer” that showed up to counter-protest at a Black Lives Matter demonstration last weekend.
Reinoehl was killed in an altercation with U.S. Marshals who were trying to arrest him for second-degree murder.
The affidavit, according to Fox News, notes that Reinoehl “appeared to be targeting the victim prior to the shooting,” that he had deliberately armed himself for the protest in case of an interaction that turned violent, and that he “allegedly hid in a parking garage, waiting for Aaron ‘Jay’ Danielson, 39, and another Patriot Prayer member.”
Reinoehl appeared to shoot twice, once hitting a can of bear spray that one of the Patriot Prayer rally attendees was carrying for protection, and once hitting Danielson.
Investigators also believed that Reinoehl was a de facto security guard for Antifa protesters, which was why he was armed.
“Michael Forest Reinoehl, a self-described anti-fascist who said he provided security for Portland racial justice protests, appears to have targeted a participant in a pro-Trump rally, emerging from an alcove of a parking garage before firing two gunshots, one that hit the man’s bear spray can and the other that proved fatal,” Oregon Live added. “Police found a single Winchester .380-caliber bullet casing on the street, a metal canister of ‘Bear Attack Detector’ that had a ‘large defect’ in it and a collapsible metal baton just north of Aaron ‘Jay’ Danielson’s body, a detective said in the affidavit.”
The allegations laid out in the affidavit, appear to support the District Attorney’s decision to charge Reinoehl with second-degree murder; although it appears Reinoehl came armed and prepared to use his weapon, he was not familiar with Danielson before the rally and reportedly targeted Danielson as a victim during the demonstration.
Officers found evidence connecting Reinoehl to the shooting in his home.
“During a search of Reinoehl’s basement rental unit in a Northeast Portland house on 92nd Avenue, police found ammunition of the same caliber used in Danielson’s shooting and clothing Reinoehl wore that night,” Oregon Live reported.
Danielson was also armed during the encounter: “Detectives found a loaded 9mm handgun on Danielson’s waistband and three magazines of 9mm red-tip ammunition in his right cargo pants pocket.” He was shown carrying a baton in surveillance footage of a pro-Trump “caravan” in which he participated.
The DA did not get a chance to pursue a case against Reinoehl. Several law enforcement organizations tracked him to a location outside of Portland, where he apparently engaged them in a firefight. Reinoehl was killed.
The Portland DA says that authorities are still seeking information about Reinoehl’s final interaction with police.
“The apprehension of a fugitive, in particular one under investigation for murder, is especially dangerous for law enforcement,” he said.