The suspect in the death of a far-right protester in Portland has been shot dead by US marshals in Washington state, according to local law enforcement officials.
Michael Forest Reinoehl, 48, a regular attendee during weeks of protests, was killed during an encounter in Lacey, Washington, south-west of Seattle on Thursday evening, said the Pierce county sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer, according to the Olympian news site.
Reinoehl was suspected of being involved in the death of Aaron Danielson in downtown Portland during a clash between Black Lives Matters protesters and supporters of Donald Trump at the weekend.
Federal agents from the FBI and the US marshals service had located Reinoehl on Thursday after a warrant was issued for his arrest, Troyer said. During the encounter, Reinoehl was shot by a law enforcement officer who was working on the federal task force.
Lt Ray Brady, of Thurston county sheriff’s department, said the Pierce county fugitive apprehension team, working with US marshals, was in the area looking for a wanted homicide suspect when they saw him come out of an apartment. They said he appeared to be armed.
“The suspect came out to the car,” Troyer said. “They attempted to put him into custody and shots were fired.”
His death was also reported by the New York Times, the Washington Post and Associated Press, citing unnamed officials.
A witness who was walking his dog in the area was quoted by the Olympian as hearing 30-40 shots being fired after two SUVs pulled up outside a block.
On Monday it emerged that Portland police were reported to have launched a homicide investigation focused on a BLM supporter.
Trump, who highlighted Danielson’s death in tweets earlier in the week and defended his supporters’ use of paintballs against BLM protesters, posted on Twitter moments before the story broke: “Why aren’t the Portland Police ARRESTING the cold blooded killer of Aaron ‘Jay’ Danielson.”
In an interview in Vice published on Thursday morning, Reinoehl said he acted in self-defence when far-right marchers diverted from their agreed route and descended on the downtown area where BLM supporters were gathered on Saturday.
“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.”