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Sept. 26, 2022

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Portland shooting suspect’s death officially ruled homicide, autopsy finds he was shot multiple times

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The man suspected of fatally shooting a right-wing activist during racial injustice protests in Portland last month was killed by multiple shots to his head and torso, the Thurston County Coroner’s Office said Wednesday.

Michael Forest Reinoehl’s death officially has been ruled a homicide, ruling out any possibility he may have turned his own gun on himself, Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock added.

The official cause and manner of Reinoehl’s death came after a pathologist conducted an autopsy on his body six days after officers shot him outside an apartment near Lacey on Sept. 3. Warnock said he did not immediately know the number of times Reinoehl had been shot. All bullets recovered from his body have been sent to the state’s crime lab, he added.

Reinhoehl, 48, a self-professed anti-fascist and Black Lives Matter supporter, died amid a hail of gunfire after members of the Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force, headed by the U.S. Marshals Service, moved in to arrest him outside the Tanglewilde Terrace Townhomes about 7 p.m.

Authorities have said that after Reinoehl tried to leave the apartments in a car, the task force used their vehicles to box the car in. At least four officers, including two Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies, a Lakewood police officer and a state Department of Corrections officer, fired multiple rounds at Reinoehl inside and outside of the car. A team that is now investigating the shooting has said Reinoehl displayed a gun during the encounter. The team, headed by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, has not publicly confirmed whether he fired at officers, as some neighbors who witnessed the incident later contended.

The task force was executing a warrant, issued under seal a day earlier by a Multnomah County court, for Reinoehl’s arrest on second-degree murder and illegal gun charges in connection with the shooting of Aaron “Jay” Danielson.

Danielson, 39, a supporter of President Donald Trump and the far-right Patriot Prayer group, was shot and killed Aug. 29 in downtown Portland. A parking garage’s surveillance video captured Reinoehl that night spotting Danielson and his friend and fellow Patriot Prayer supporter Chandler Pappas, according to detectives’ probable cause statement used to obtain the arrest warrant. Reinoehl then allegedly ducked into the garage and let the two men pass before he followed them across Southwest Third Avenue, shot Danielson and ran, the affidavit states.

Just before the shooting, a livestream blogger’s video showed Danielson advance several steps toward Reinoehl, raising a canister of bear spray. Police later found an expandable baton near Danielson’s body, and recovered a loaded Glock handgun from his waistband and two additional magazines full of ammunition from his shorts pocket, according to the probable cause affidavit.

In an interview with VICE News shortly before he was killed, Reinoehl seemed to admit to shooting Danielson, but claimed the act was “totally justified” and done to protect a friend who was walking with him.

Reinoehl, who in a June Instagram post described himself as “100% ANTIFA,” was a veteran of recent Portland protests and said he had worked security on behalf of Black Lives Matter protesters, including during a July incident when he was shot in the arm.

Prior to Danielson’s shooting last month, Reinoehl also had several recent run-ins with police. He faced multiple criminal charges, including an illegal gun possession charge, stemming from a June 8 reckless driving incident when he allegedly was racing his teenage son’s car in Baker County. He also was cited, but wasn’t charged, with illegally possessing a gun and resisting arrest during Portland protests on July 5.

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