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Slain Portland Murder Suspect Had Record of Gun Offenses

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Portland, Oregon murder suspect Michael Reinoehl was interviewed not long before he was killed by police near Lacey, Washington. (Screen snip, YouTube, NBC News, Vice News)

U.S.A.-( The suspect in the fatal shooting of a counter-protester in Portland, Oregon, who was killed by members of a U.S. Marshals task force, reportedly had prior troubles with law enforcement over illegal gun possession, according to various published reports.

Now the question is how will the gun prohibition lobby exploit this case? And there are now new details emerging that raise questions about self-defense in the Portland incident, thanks to a Sept. 5 Seattle Times article.

Incredibly, the suspect’s sister is quoted by the Daily Mail stating, “’I wouldn’t say at this point that this counts as bad news. It’s just more news.”

Michael Forest Reinoehl, 48, was arrested June 8 in eastern Oregon, according to the Wall Street Journal. He was traveling at a reported 111 miles per hour along Interstate 84, allegedly under the influence of marijuana and with a handgun on board. The newspaper said he also had his 11-year-old daughter in the car, and at the time he was racing his 17-year-old son.

NPR also reported the incident, noting, “A state trooper found unidentified prescription pills inside the 2005 Cadillac STS that Reinoehl was driving, an unspecified amount of cannabis, and a concealed and loaded Glock pistol. Reinoehl didn’t have a concealed handgun license, according to state police.”

The WSJ said he failed to appear at his arraignment in July.

And the Daily Mail report said Reinoehl’s sister, April, had actually expected her brother to be killed by right-wing activists rather than police. She is now concerned he will become a martyr, used to justify more violence.

The Seattle Times reported that Reinoehl was cited by Portland police in July for possession of a loaded firearm in a public place, though at the time of his death there apparently have yet to be charges filed.

A retired newspaper journalist, in a private email to this correspondent, observed, “Before passing more ‘common-sense gun laws,” how about enforcing the ones we have?”

As disturbing as the suspect’s background appears to be, so also have been news reports repeatedly, and uniformly, referring to the murder victim—identified as Aaron “Jay” Danielson, 39—as a “right-wing supporter” of the Patriot Prayer movement. The New York Post described him as a “right-wing protester.”

The Portland Oregonian reported Danielson had participated in a caravan rally supporting President Donald Trump. The report said Reinoehl “encountered Danielson walking with a friend after the car caravan had left downtown. Danielson was wearing a ballcap with the insignia of Patriot Prayer, a group of right-wing activists based in Vancouver.”

In an interview with Vice News not long before he was killed, Reinoehl asserted, “I had no choice.” It appeared he was admitting to having shot Danielson.

“I mean, I, I had a choice,” Reinoehl quickly added. “I could have sat there and watched them kill a friend of mine of color, but I wasn’t going to do that.”

Reinoehl was a self-described Antifa supporter who apparently worked as a “security guard” during Black Lives Matter protests in Portland.

As reported by the Oregonian, the shooting was captured on video by a man identified as Justin Dunlap. He was reportedly live-streaming a demonstration on his Facebook page when the shooting occurred. He told the newspaper, “I saw the victim pull something up from his hip with his right hand and a big cloud of mace goes in the air. And then half a second later, there were two pops.”

There is now some disagreement about the chain of events, as detailed in the Saturday Seattle Times report updated. Danielson reportedly was carrying a pistol and had three spare magazines in his pockets. These facts do not, however, change Reinoehl’s previous encounters with law enforcement, and his actions following the Portland shooting. If he believed that shooting to have been justified, why did he flee the scene? Why did he wind up in an apartment complex about 120 miles away, in another state?

CNN was reporting that Reinoehl, wanted on a murder warrant issued by Multnomah County, Ore., was tracked to the Olympia-Lacey area in Washington State by the task force. In a statement, the task force said, “Initial reports indicate the suspect produced a firearm, threatening the lives of law enforcement officers. Task force members responded to the threat and struck the suspect who was pronounced dead at the scene.”

Incredibly, according to the CNN report, Reinoehl told the Vice News interviewer, “What they’ve done is they’ve tried to make it look like we’re all terrorists. And they’re trying to make me look like a murderer.”

This makes at least four protest-related deaths in the Pacific Northwest, combined with two in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Two black teens were killed in separate shooting incidents in Seattle during the summer occupation of the so-called CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest) zone, and a female protester was fatally struck by a car on I-5 on July 4. Danielson’s slaying was just the latest incident, and the number of shooting deaths would climb to four if Reinoehl’s death is counted.

It remains to be seen how Northwest anti-gunners may try to exploit the situation. Moms Demand Action, the subsidiary group of anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety, posted an email blast on Aug 31 declaring, “The tragedies and injustices we saw in Kenosha…are symptoms of two diseases plaguing America – a toxic gun culture combined with systemic racism and white supremacy.

“Let’s be clear: police violence is gun violence,” the Moms message declared, with the emphasis in the original post. “Last week, there was yet another tragic example of such violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin when police shot Jacob Blake, a Black resident of Kenosha, in the back seven times, leaving him paralyzed.”

This was not the first attempt by gun prohibitionists to try linking the Second Amendment movement to white supremacists.

Four days earlier, the Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility, launched its own email with a not-so-subliminal attempt to associate Second Amendment activism with racism.

“White supremacists have become emboldened under this administration and the gun lobby is openly stoking fear about people of color in an attempt to drive gun sales,” the Aug. 27 email asserted.

It was not clear where Reinoehl obtained the guns he was carrying in Oregon, or why he had not been charged for the alleged offense in Portland.

However, it is almost a certainty that Northwest gun prohibitionists will use the events of this summer, in Seattle, Portland and Kenosha, to justify even more demands for stricter gun control laws in 2021.

About Dave WorkmanDave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

The post Slain Portland Murder Suspect Had Record of Gun Offenses appeared first on


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