Investigators say officers killed Portland protester after he pointed gun

By Conrad Wilson (OPB)
Sept. 18, 2020 4:08 a.m. Updated: Sept. 18, 2020 4:16 a.m.

Michael Forest Reinoehl pointed a gun at officers in Lacey, Washington, on Sept. 3 before law enforcement officers shot and killed him, the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

“We learned from the witness statements that Mr. Reinoehl did display a weapon at the officers,” Lt. Ray Brady, the commander overseeing the police shooting investigation, told OPB.


Prior to his death, prosecutors in Multnomah County had charged Reinoehl with second degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon for allegedly killing Aaron J. Danielson — a supporter of the far right group Patriot Prayer — after an Aug. 29 rally in support of President Trump’s reelection campaign.

Reinoehl was killed by members of the Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force, made up of local and federal officers, during what police say was an arrest attempt.

Brady said in addition to officers seeing a gun pointed at them before they shot, investigators located a fired shell casing during a search of Reinoehl’s vehicle.

“It is a .380 caliber shell casing, which is consistent with the same caliber as the gun that was in Mr. Reinoehl’s possession,” Brady said.


Investigators are still waiting on ballistics results from the Washington State Crime Lab to determine if that casing was fired from the gun Reinoehl had in his possession, Brady said.

“That will verify whether that casing came from that gun,” he said. “But we also do not know, yet, at this point — and we may not know — at what point specifically was that round fired, if it did in fact come from that weapon.”

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said detectives also recovered an “AR-15 style .22 caliber rifle” with a removed serial number from the front seat of Reinoehl’s vehicle.

Four members of the task force fired on Reinoehl, Brady said, including officers from the Lakewood Police Department, the Washington State Department of Corrections and the Piece County Sheriff’s Office.

Earlier this month, a witness to the shooting, Nate Dinguss, said he saw the events play out very differently, according to a statement put on on Sept. 8.

In that statement, Dinguss’ claimed to see Reinoehl walking toward his car chewing on a gummy worm and carrying a cellphone, when two unmarked police cars pulled up and began shooting at him. Dinguss reported he didn’t see Reinoehl with a firearm. He did say he saw officers fire, stop, and fire again, according to the statement.


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