Portland suspect waited in garage before shooting pro-Trump protester: Court documents

The suspect allegedly shot and killed a pro-Trump protester on Aug. 29.

September 5, 2020, 4:39 PM

Newly unsealed court documents help provide a timeline of the fatal shooting of a pro-Trump protester in Portland, Oregon, late last month, including surveillance images that allegedly capture the suspect waiting for the victim in a parking garage moments before opening fire.

The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office released the search warrant and arrest warrant affidavits for the suspect, Michael Reinoehl, on Friday, a day after he was killed during an encounter with authorities in Lacey, Washington.

Reinoehl, 48, was wanted for murder in the second degree with a firearm and unlawful use of a weapon with a firearm. The district attorney's office was preparing to prove that Reinoehl intentionally killed 39-year-old Aaron Danielson during violent protests last weekend between a large caravan of pro-Trump supporters and Black Lives Matter protesters.

According to court documents, Portland police were able to identify Reinoehl as a suspect in the Aug. 29 shooting through "open source" videos posted online that allegedly placed him in downtown Portland that day wearing "unique attire," including a vest. They also matched a "distinctive fist tattoo" on the suspect's neck to Reinoehl's Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles driver's license, court records show.

Surveillance footage shows Michael Forest Reinoehl, right, before he allegedly shot and killed pro-Trump protester Aaron Danielson, far left, in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 29, 2020.
Multnomah County District Attorney's Office

The shooting occurred near the entrance to a parking garage, on the west side of Southwest Third Avenue, just south of Southwest Alder Street, at 8:44 p.m. local time, according to court documents. Detectives obtained surveillance video from Moda Tower, an office building in downtown Portland, that captured the intersection of Southwest Third Avenue and Southwest Alder Street.

The court records allege that Reinoehl can be seen in the surveillance footage at that time at the northeast corner of the intersection. He allegedly then crosses southbound on Southwest Third Avenue with three others, stares east down Southwest Alder Street, then continues.

Danielson and a friend are then seen rounding the corner from the east and turning south onto Southwest Third Avenue, according to the court records. Reinoehl looks back toward them, "but continues walking and begins reaching toward his waistband," the affidavit states.

According to court records, Reinoehl then concealed himself and waited in the garage entry and watched as Danielson and his friend walked by. "Danielson appears to be holding a can in his right hand and what appears to be an expandable baton in his left hand," the affidavit states.

After they walk by, Reinoehl emerges from the garage "while still reaching toward the pocket or pouch on his waistband," the court documents allege. An unidentified person looks back toward Reinoehl, and Reinoehl and that second person follow Danielson and his friend as they cross westbound across Southwest Third Avenue, according to the affidavit. "The shooting occurs shortly thereafter and is not captured on the surveillance video," it states.

Surveillance footage shows Michael Forest Reinoehl, right, before he allegedly shot and killed pro-Trump protester Aaron Danielson, not pictured, in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 29, 2020.
Multnomah County District Attorney's Office

Immediately after the shooting, Reinoehl can be seen again in the surveillance footage with his right arm raised while facing toward Danielson, according to court documents. The second person runs away, then Reinoehl allegedly turns and runs north then east on Southwest Alder Street.

Based on timestamps, the entire incident as described happened within one minute, according to the affidavit.

Stills of the surveillance video included in the affidavit allegedly place Reinoehl in front of the parking garage as a group approaches, inside the parking garage as Danielson and his friend walk by, emerging from the parking garage and on the street after the shooting as the second person runs away.

Michael Reinoehl is seen during a protest in front of Mayor Ted Wheeler's residence, Aug. 28, 2020, in Portland, Ore.
Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP

Witnesses of the fatal shooting allege that Danielson pulled out a large can and sprayed it, followed by the sound of two gunshots, according to the court documents. Police found a metal canister of "Bear Attack Deterrent" in the middle of Southwest Third Avenue, north of where Danielson was found, that appeared to have been struck by a bullet, court records show.

Danielson was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest, and the Oregon State Medical Examiner ruled his death a homicide, according to the affidavit.

During the execution of a search warrant issued Thursday for Reinoehl's residence, Portland police recovered clothing that matched what he was wearing on Aug. 29, at the time of Danielson's death, the district attorney's office said Friday. They also found ammunition that matched the ballistic evidence recovered from the crime scene, authorities said.

ABC News' Ahmad Hemingway contributed to this report.

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