A 48-year-old man who was accused of carrying a loaded gun at an earlier downtown Portland protest is under investigation in the fatal shooting Saturday night of a right-wing demonstrator after a pro-Trump rally.
Michael Forest Reinoehl calls himself an anti-fascist and has posted videos and photos of demonstrations he attended since late June, accompanied by the hashtags #blacklivesmatter, #anewnation and #breonnataylor.
Reinoehl was raised in Sandy and has had recent addresses in Northeast Portland, Gresham and Clackamas. He described himself on social media and in a video interview with Bloomberg QuickTake News as a professional snowboarder and contractor who has former military experience but “hated” his time in the army.
Sources familiar with the case but not authorized to speak said police are investigating Reinoehl. A family member also identified him as a man captured in photos and video seen leaving the shooting scene shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday.
Aaron Danielson, a supporter of the conservative group Patriot Prayer, was shot in the chest and died in the street. It was soon after most cars in a caravan of supporters of President Donald Trump had left the city’s downtown streets.
Reinoehl’s posts indicate he attended many protests in Portland that began three months ago after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis under the knee of a police officer.
On July 5 at one of the demonstrations, Reinoehl was cited at 2:10 a.m. in the 700 block of Southwest Main Street on allegations of possessing a loaded gun in a public place, resisting arrest and interfering with police
He was given a date to appear in court later that month, but the allegations were dropped on July 30 with a “no complaint,” according to court records. The documents don’t indicate why prosecutors decided not to pursue the accusations. Reinoehl spent no time behind bars.
Brent Weisberg, a spokesman for Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt, said the office is still reviewing that July case involving Reinoehl.
Schmidt earlier Sunday decried the deadly violence. He took office on Aug. 1 and quickly announced that he wouldn’t pursue low-level charges against demonstrators, such as interfering with police or resisting arrest. He wasn’t district attorney when the office handled Reinoehl’s gun case.
Video images of the fatal shooting captured a tall, thin 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 grainy video and other photos, together with witness statements from live streamer Justin Dunlap, suggest the victim used some type of mace or pepper spray and then collapsed after gunshots ring out.
Reinoehl’s 36-year-old sister said she was awakened just before 8 a.m. Sunday by a threatening phone call from someone who told her that “our whole family was in danger unless we turned him over.”
“That’s how I found out,” she told The Oregonian/OregonLive, that her brother was allegedly involved.
She called Sandy police to report the threat, she said. Once she looked online and saw screenshots of her brother’s photo, she said she called Portland detectives.
“We reached out to police and confirmed that we recognized Michael in the screenshots,” she said. She asked that her name not be used because of the threats.
Michael Reinoehl has been estranged from the family – including her, their parents and a younger brother – for at least three years, his sister said.
“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.”
Reinoehl has stolen their mother’s seizure medication and owes a lot of debt, often giving his relatives’ addresses as his own to avoid responsibility, she said.
He has a son and daughter and is split from their mother, she said.
“I have friends, family and loved ones on both sides of the conflict,” Reinoehl’s sister said. “Violence begets violence and hatred begets hatred. This is not the solution. My heart goes out to the victim. It always has, before I even knew my brother was involved.”
Reinoehl’s is also wanted on a failure to appear warrant in a June 8 speed racing case in Baker County in eastern Oregon. He and his 17-year-old son were racing in two different cars at speeds of up to 111 mph heading east on Interstate 84 after midnight near North Powder, according to state police.
Michael Reinoehl faces allegations including driving under the influence of a controlled substance, recklessly endangering another, unlawful possession of a gun and driving while suspended and uninsured.
He was stopped driving a 2005 Cadillac STS with his 11-year-old daughter as a passenger, police said. Inside the car, police said they found marijuana, “unidentified prescription pills” and a loaded Glock pistol for which Reinoehl didn’t have a concealed handgun license.
Shortly after that, Reinoehl began posting about the protests in Portland.
On June 16, he wrote, “Every Revolution needs people that are willing and ready to fight. There are so many of us protesters that are just protesting without a clue of where that will lead. That’s just the beginning that’s that where the fight starts. If that’s as far as you can take it thank you for your participation but please stand aside and support the ones that are willing to fight. I am 100 % ANTIFA all the way! I am willing to fight for my brothers and sisters! … We do not want violence but we will not run from it either! … Today’s protesters and antifa are my brothers in arms.”
On the Bloomberg video posted July 27, Reinoehl said he had been shot and turns to the camera to show a bloody bandage on his right arm. He claimed he intervened in an earlier fight between a man with a gun and Black youths.
He said on the video that he’d been “working security and trying to keep protected” someone in the crowd when he got shot as he tried to wrestle a gun away from the man harassing the kids. He didn’t say where that it happened. The account couldn’t be immediately confirmed.
On July 2, Reinoehl wrote on Instagram, “We will not stop until there is change. Now more than ever we need to join together. Join the cause support the people that are willing to take a rubber bullet. Give them supplies food water Medical anything that can help. Bring balloons and paint for paint balloons. #blaklivesmatter #breonnataylor.”
His social media pages also are filled with videos and photos of him snowboarding at Mt. Hood Meadows, sometimes with his dog Ezo accompanying him.
In a February Facebook post, Michael Reinoehl wrote that “it can be hard and confusing at times living in a world consumed by individuality.”
“When as beings we truly are connected to everything in the university and Beyond. Some of us feel trapped in a shell surrounded and controlled by individuals that have no clue,” he says in the post. “Or even worse refuse to accept the truth because they would have to give up their control. For those of you who know and feel the same as I do know this. Our time here is short, always stay true to what you know. And know that you are here to help the innocent ones who do not know. Be that bright light to the ones who are lost. And as you like your own way hopefully some will follow. #love #loveeverything #loveeveryone.”
In one post, he shared a video of people burning a “Trump 2020” flag outside the Multnomah County Justice Center steps earlier this summer. A post from November 2015 shows a Trump face painted on the wall of a restroom with a urinal in place of the mouth. Another post shows a poster of Malala Yousafzai with the quote: “With guns you can kill terrorists. With education, you can kill terrorism.”
Other posts appear to be tied to the Free Thought Project, which bills itself on its website as a “hub for Free Thinking conversations about the promotion of liberty and the daunting task of government accountability.”
Other posts display pictures of his family, friends and his dog and describe him seeking work cleaning gutters to make extra money. In a 2018 post, he says he works for a company that remodels houses. His Facebook page says he studied television production at Mt. Hood Community College.
On Sunday, much of his social media filled up with others commenting, posting pointed messages such as “Turn yourself in” to “You better pray to God that the law gets to you first…Because The Patriots are Storming!!”
© 2020 The Oregonian
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.