LACEY, Wash. — Michael Reinoehl, the man accused of killing a Trump supporter during a protest in Portland, was killed after police attempted to arrest him in Lacey Thursday night, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
The Portland Police Bureau obtained a warrant for Reinoehl's arrest Thursday, and the U.S. Marshals confirmed that Reinoehl was killed. Portland Police say the warrant was for Murder in the Second Degree, and Unlawful Use of a Weapon, both with a firearm.
Attorney General William Barr released a statement Friday in which he identified Reinoehl as the suspect in the Portland shooting, calling him a "dangerous fugitive, admitted Antifa member, and suspected murderer." He said tracking him down was a "significant accomplishment in the ongoing effort to restore law and order to Portland and other cities."
According to Thurston County Sheriff's Lt. Ray Brady, the Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force, a group run by the U.S. Marshals, was doing surveillance of a homicide suspect at an apartment complex just outside the city limits of Lacey when they confronted the man around 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
A U.S. Marshals Service spokesperson said the task force attempted to arrest Reinoehl, and officers shot him after he produced a gun and fled on foot. The team included officers from the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, Lakewood Police, and the Washington Department of Corrections. These officers are temporarily deputized to act as Marshals when serving on the task force, the Marshals Service said. This gives them additional jurisdiction to cross county lines.
On Friday morning, the Thurston County Sheriff's Office said it "can confirm at this time" the suspect shot Thursday night was armed with a handgun. However, the sheriff's office wasn't releasing the suspect's identity until it was verified and next of kin were notified.
The Thurston County Sheriff's Office will lead the investigation into the shooting as it occurred in the sheriff's office jurisdiction but no deputies were present when the suspect was killed, according to a press release. Thurston County said Friday it had not confirmed if Reinoehl fired shots, and expected to release more information next week.
Several neighbors from the complex came to lay flowers at bullet-pocked mailbox on Friday. They described a number of shots.
"I believe this was an act of police brutality," said one woman, who asked not to be named for her safety. "We just wanted to show respect for him and his family."
On Thursday before the shooting, Vice News announced Reinoehl told them in an interview that the shooting of Aaron "Jay" Danielson was in self-defense, saying Danielson was trying to kill a friend of his.
Danielson was a member of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer and had been part of a pro-Trump caravan and rally Saturday night. The caravan went through downtown Portland where they clashed with counter-protesters.
Reinoehl called himself an anti-fascist in social media posts and said he has been at several of the recent protests in Portland. He denied any formal affiliation in the Vice interview but said his beliefs align with what's known as antifa.
According to Vice News, Reinoehl is an Army veteran and father of two who has been "providing security" at Portland Black Lives Matter protests.
Back in Lacey, Nichole Crow, who lives across the street and heard the shots, was upset nearby families were not warned police were moving in. Her children were playing outside near the shooting, and she feared they could have been hurt or killed in the gunfire.
She had not seen Reinoehl around in recent days, she said, and didn't know who he had been staying with. She reflected on the unrest the U.S. has seen this summer.
"I think there’s a lot of clashing ideals, I think – I don’t agree one side is wrong or right, I do think justice needs to prevail," she said. "Overall. And kindness needs to prevail overall. But I do believe that no one should die,ever, I don’t think that anything is worth dying over.”
The other neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous, spoke about the shooting in light of the accusations against Reinoehl.
“If he killed somebody, then justice needed to be served," she said. "I don’t believe that the man in Portland should have been murdered, but he shouldn’t have been murdered here either. He should have been arrested. Justice should have been served properly in front of a jury, and the cops did not do their job here.”
TCSO said since the shooting involved officers from local departments, they are proceeding in the investigation as outlined under Washington's new law, I-940, which governs law enforcement use of force.