An Antifa protester has said he acted in self defense during the fatal shooting of a supporter of a right-wing group in Portland, Oregon.
‘I had no choice. I mean, I, I had a choice. I could have sat there and watched them kill a friend of mine of color. But I wasn’t going to do that,’ Michael Reinoehl, 48, said in a video interview published by Vice News on Thursday
Aaron ‘Jay’ Danielson, 39, was fatally shot on Saturday as he was leaving a political demonstration in support of President Donald Trump. Reinoehl has not been arrested or charged in the case as yet.
Reinoehl did not say he shot Danielson in the fragment of video shown by Vice News before the full interview is aired on Thursday night, but did say his actions that night were in self-defense.
Antifa member Michael Reinoehl, 48, (above) spoke out in a video interview published by Vice News on Thursday, claiming that he shot Trump supporter Aaron Danielson in self-defense
The victim of Saturday night’s shooting in Portland was Aaron ‘Jay’ Danielson. He was a member of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer and also used the last name Bishop
Police arrived on the scene ‘within a minute’ of when gunshots rang out. The victim, later identified as Danielson, is seen wearing a hat with the insignia of Patriot Prayer
Vice News reported that Reinoehl said he feared he and his friend would be stabbed, but the portions of the interview released so far do not elaborate on this claim.
Bystander video of the shooting appears to show Danielson crossing the street toward a parking garage, before someone shouts ‘We got another Trumper!’
Another person is heard asking ‘Here?’ immediately before two shots ring out.
Reinoehl emerged as a suspect in the case after The Oregonian newspaper reported he was under investigation in the killing, which took place after Danielson, a supporter of the Patriot Prayer group, participated in a rally in support of Trump.
Portland police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Reinoehl, a self-declared ‘100% Antifa’, was active in Black Lives Matter demonstrations against racism and police brutality in Portland that have gone on for nearly 100 days, according to messages and videos on his Instagram feed.
Antifa is a far-left movement that is anti-capitalist, and which seeks to confront those it views as racist or authoritarian.
Danielson is treated by medics after being shot Saturday in Portland, Oregon. Fights broke out in downtown Portland as a large caravan of supporters of Trump drove through the city
Reinoehl said in posts on Facebook and Instagram he was a professional snowboarder and a U.S. Army veteran and was prepared to fight ‘to change the course of humanity.’
However, a US Army spokesperson told DailyMail.com they searched their service records for a 48-year-old Michael Forest Reinoehl and were ‘unable to locate this individual in our database.’
The Stolen Valor Act of 2013 states it is a federal crime to fraudulently claim military service in order to get money or any other kind of benefit.
In the Vice interview, Reinoehl said that he is a ‘former military contractor’ who provided ‘security’ for Black Lives Matter protests.
‘I am 100% ANTIFA,’ Reinoehl said in a June 16 post, using the term for the anti-fascist movement.
‘We truly have an opportunity right now to fix everything. But it will be a fight like no other! It will be a war and like all wars there will be casualties.’
His Facebook page says he is from Gresham, Oregon, a community around 15 miles east of Portland.
Michael Reinoehl is being reportedly being investigated by Portland police over the killing of Aaron ‘Jay’ Danielson, a member of Patriot Prayer who was shot to death at a protest
Reinoehl is seen left displaying a bruise from a rubber bullet and right snowboarding
In this post, from June 16, he claimed to have served in the army and ‘hated it’. He also wrote he was 100% ‘ANTIFA’ and says ‘We do not want violence but we will not run from it either’
Reinoehl had been previously accused of taking a loaded gun to an earlier Portland protest and social media posts show him attending Black Lives Matter protests.
And the 48-year-old former professional snowboarder has had several previous run-ins with the police.
In June, he was charged for allegedly racing with his 17-year-old son at speeds of up to 111mph on Interstate 84 with his 11-year-old daughter in the passenger seat.
Police said they found ‘usable amounts of marijuana and unidentified prescription pills’ in Reinoehl’s 2005 Cadillac STS and a loaded, concealed Glock pistol.
The father of two was charged with driving under the influence of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of a firearm.
The full interview with Reinoehl will air at 11pm ET on Thursday on Vice News Tonight.