Portland police have not publicly named a suspect in the Saturday night deadly shooting of Trump supporter Aaron Danielson, also known as “Jay Bishop,” but sources told The Oregonian that police are investigating 48-year-old Michael Forest Reinoehl, who has identified himself as antifa, has been arrested at previous antifa riots in Portland, and matches some descriptions of the shooter. Reinoehl has also described his support for Black Lives Matter as part of a “war” that will involve “casualties.”
“Every revolution needs people that are willing and ready to fight. There are many of us protesters that are just protesting without a clue of where that will lead. That’s just the beginning that’s where the fight starts. If that’s as far and you can take it thank you for your participation but please stand aside and support the ones that are willing to fight,” Reinoehl posted on Instagram in June.
“I am 100% ANTIFA all the way! I am willing to fight for my brothers and sisters! Even if some of them are too ignorant to realize what antifa truly stands for,” he added. “We are currently living through a crucial point in Humanities [sic] evolution. We truly have an opportunity right now to fix everything. But it will be a fight like no other! It will be a war and like all wars there will be casualties.”
It does seem Reinoehl approaches the antifa riots in Portland like a war.
On July 5, police arrested Reinoehl amid a violent riot in front of the federal courthouse. Authorities charged him with possessing a loaded gun in a public place, resisting arrest, and interfering with police. Although he was given a court date later that month, authorities dropped the charges on July 30. Court records do not explain why prosecutors decided to drop the charges. Reinoehl did not spend any time behind bars.
Brent Weisberg, a spokesman for Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt, told The Oregonian that his office is still reviewing that July case. Authorities dropped the case before Schmidt took office on August 1, although Schmidt may have dropped the charges too. Earlier this month, Schmidt announced his office would decline to prosecute various crimes, including interfering with a police officer and resisting arrest, in some circumstances.
Reinoehl also failed to appear for a court date after state police arrested him and his 17-year-old son in a June 8 speed-racing case in eastern Oregon. According to state police, he and his son were racing in two different cars at speeds of up to 111 mph after midnight. Reinoehl also faces allegations of driving under the influence of a controlled substance, recklessly endangering another, unlawful possession of a gun, and driving while suspended and uninsured.
But did Michael Reinoehl shoot Aaron Danielson?
It remains unclear whether Reinoehl shot Danielson. Yet a few pieces of evidence suggest he is the most likely culprit.
“Video images of the fatal shooting captured a tall, thin white man in a hat and white tube socks running from the scene at Southwest Third Avenue and Alder Street around 8:45 p.m. Screenshots zeroed in a tattoo of a fist on the man’s neck,” The Oregonian reported.
Around 8 a.m. Sunday morning, Reinoehl’s 36-year-old sister received a threatening phone call. The caller told her “our whole family was in danger unless we turned him over,” she told The Oregonian. After notifying police of the threat, the sister identified her brother in screenshots of the suspect.
“We reached out to police and confirmed that we recognized Michael in the screenshots,” the sister, who wishes to remain anonymous due to the threats, told the paper. She said that her brother has been estranged from the family for at least three years.
“On the one hand, this whole thing surprises the daylights out of us, because we always thought he is a lot of bark, not a lot of bite,” she said. “But he’s also been very impulsive and irrational.”
Sources familiar with the case but not authorized to speak on the record told The Oregonian that police are investigating Reinoehl.
Pray for Portland, and for America
America’s increasing partisanship and polarization have created a dangerous atmosphere for all involved. Even as violent antifa riots have ravaged the streets of Portland for nearly 100 nights, left-leaning journalists and politicians have excused the violence as “peaceful protests,” perhaps because they sympathize with the rioters’ motives. Indeed, Mayor Ted Wheeler (D-Portland) has joined the rioters and even blamed Trump for the riots. Democratic nominee Joe Biden has demonized President Donald Trump’s efforts to combat the riots and restore law and order.
As Marxist critical theory runs amok, with The New York Times‘ “1619 Project” demonizing America’s founding and racking up the support of figures like Oprah and with the Smithsonian briefly teaching that capitalism, Christianity, and even politeness are aspects of an oppressive “whiteness,” many “woke” activists have seized on the moment to excuse mayhem. A black man told police that he stabbed a “random” white man in the neck at AutoZone after watching videos of police shootings of black men. Black Lives Matter mobs in Chicago and Minneapolis started looting random businesses in response to false reports of police shootings.
Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old boy, somehow thought it was a good idea to arm himself and try to defend property amid the Kenosha riots. He shot three rioters in what seems to have been self-defense, but the media and activists rushed to demonize him, baselessly accusing him of being a white supremacist. He should not have been on the streets in the first place, but he may end up with a strong defamation case because of how quickly people rushed to judge him.
All of these situations are extremely tragic but they represent rising tensions and mistrust. Americans need to be able to listen to one another, and the media needs to stop putting the narrative ahead of the truth.
Tragically, it seems that antifa rioters in Portland celebrated Danielson’s death. They branded him a “fascist” and a “Nazi” based solely on the fact that he supported Blue Lives Matter and Donald Trump. This kind of rhetoric is the recipe for a civil war.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.