Report: Feds Fired At Self-Described Anti-Fascist Before Identifying Themselves
According to a report from ProPublica and Oregon Public Broadcasting, witnesses say federal agents opened fire last month on self-described anti-fascist Michael Forest Reinoehl without first identifying themselves.
- Reinoehl was on the run after fatally shooting Patriot Prayer supporter Aaron “Jay” Danielson in Portland, Oregon.
- The report describes Reinoehl’s takedown as follows:
At about 6:40 p.m., two silver SUVs gunned toward Reinoehl, tires squealing as they skidded to a stop in front of his VW, pinning his car in. Deputized U.S. marshals burst from the vehicles aiming military rifles at him. The official line is that Reinoehl jumped out of his car, his hand on the .380-caliber pistol in his pocket, defying a shouted command: “Stop! Police!”
What happened next remains unclear, even among law enforcement officials who participated.
One deputy U.S. marshal told investigators with the Thurston County sheriff’s office that Reinoehl pointed a gun at him. Another deputy marshal told detectives that Reinoehl had his hand on his pistol and was in the process of pulling the gun out of his pocket when officers fired. The gun was in Reinoehl’s right front pants pocket when detectives recovered it.
However, eyewitnesses and other public statements — while similarly inconsistent — are in agreement that “they heard no warning from federal agents, and saw no flashing lights that indicated the arrival of law enforcement, just a fusillade that one neighbor likened to a scene out of the video game Call of Duty.”
One eyewitness said if Reinoehl did in fact point a gun at the federal agents, it could be because he mistook them for right-wing militia members:
She thought the shooters — buff white men dressed in khakis and ballistic vests and armed with rifles — looked less like law enforcement officers than members of a right-wing militia. Perhaps, she said, Reinoehl might have mistaken the lawmen for the far-right vigilantes he feared were hunting for him.
- The 48-year-old Reinoehl died at the scene from gunshot wounds to his head and torso, per the report.