Who is Michael Reinoehl, the main suspect in Patriot Prayer killing?
Although police investigations continue into the fatal shooting in Portland, the suspect's sister has identified the man captured in the video footage.
On Sunday, the name of the main suspect involved in the fatal shooting of a Patriot Prayer supporter was reported. Michael Forest Reinoehl, a 48-year-old man, is believed to be the one responsible for killing Aaron ‘Jay’ Danielson.
Reinoehl main suspect in Patriot Prayer shooting
The man who describes himself as ‘100% ANTIFA’ is a father of two children and is believed to be the one captured in a video pulling the trigger. The victim was identified by Joey Gibson, the founder of Patriot Prayer, and since then even President Trump has used his name, Jay, in a tweet. Police Chief Chuck Lovell has said that the investigation is ongoing and so little information is being released at this time.
"A Homicide Investigation is underway in downtown Portland after a shooting Saturday evening," an early Portland police spokesman said in an emailed statement. Sounds of gunfire were heard in the area of Southeast 3rd Avenue and Southwest Alder Street, according to the statement.
“[Police] responded and located a victim with a gunshot wound to the chest. Medical responded and determined that the victim was deceased," the statement continued.
A New York Times report cited two unidentified witnesses saying a small group of people got into an argument with other people in a vehicle and someone opened fire. The man who was shot and killed was wearing a hat with the insignia of Patriot Prayer, a far-right group based in Portland that has clashed with protesters in the past, according to the newspaper.
According to local reports, Reinoehl had been seen via social media attending Black Lives Matters demonstration and he had previously been accused of taking a loaded gun to an earlier Portland protest, although they had been dropped. He had been arrested before, accused of car racing against his 17-year-old son.
“We reached out to police and confirmed that we recognized Michael in the screenshots,” Reinoehl’s sister was reported to have said after seeing the footage of her apparently estranged brother who is a professional snowboarder.
“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. But he's also been very impulsive and irrational.”
Separately, Portland police earlier said in a tweet that a "political rally is caravanning throughout downtown Portland" and that there had been "some instances of violence between demonstrators and counter-demonstrators." Police had intervened and made some arrests, the tweet said.
Wait before drawing conclusions, say police
Police cautioned the public against drawing conclusions about what sparked the violence.
'It is important for detectives get a full and accurate picture of what happened before, during, and after the shooting,' a police statement said. 'If anyone was a witness, has video, or has information about the homicide, they're asked to contact the primary detectives.'
Police Chief Chuck Lovell then added: “I ask everyone to give the detectives time to do their important work before drawing conclusions about what took place.
'This violence is completely unacceptable and we are working diligently to find and apprehend the individual or individuals responsible.’”
Demonstrations against racism and police brutality have swept the United States since the death in May of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Tensions between rival protest groups have roiled downtown Portland every night for nearly three months following Floyd's death.
President Donald Trump's administration in July deployed federal forces to Portland to crack down on the protests. Trump, who has been criticised for not acknowledging the black victims of police crime adequately, took to Twitter after news of the shooting saying: “Rest in peace Jay!”