Situation Brief: Alleged Antifa Gunman Shot Dead by Police

On Thursday evening, U.S. Marshals shot and killed a self-described member of Antifa who authorities believe is responsible for the murder of a Portland protestor last weekend.

Michael Reinoehl, who identified himself on social media as “100% Antifa,” and who was known fixture of Antifa protests in the city of Portland, was confronted by a U.S. Marshals Taskforce outside an apartment building in Lacey, Washington.

Details remain limited.

A law enforcement source reportedly told local media that Reinoehl produced a pistol before attempting to flee in a vehicle. Law Enforcement opened fire, and Reinoehl was pronounced dead at the scene. The New York Post quotes the same law enforcement source as saying that Reinoehl was “armed” and cites eyewitnesses claiming Reinoehl fired at officers’ multiple times with an assault rifle before being killed.

Reinoehl was known to frequently be armed, having been detained by police in illegal possession of a handgun on multiple occasion in the past few months.

Reinoehl had recently appeared in a pre-taped interview with Vice News. In that interview Reinoehl appears to admit to shooting the victim, Aaron Davidson, who had taken part in a a “Pro-Trump caravan” in Portland August 30th which resulted in fighting with Antifa counter-protestors. Davidson was reportedly a member of Patriot Prayer, a West Coast group whose protest events in Portland have ended in repeated scuffles with Antifa.

While Reinoehl claimed in the interview to have shot Davidson in defense of a third party, multiple videos capturing the incident do not appear to confirm that claim.  It is common for Antifa to make frequent use of the term “self-defense” or “community self-defense” in ways which do not conform to U.S. law.

It is not clear what ties Reinoehl had to the location where he was found by federal law enforcement. Lacey is a suburb of Olympia, Washington located approximately two hours from downtown Portland.

Law Enforcement should continue to investigate whether Reinoehl –who had addresses in Clackmas and Sandy Oregon—received aid when fleeing from Portland for Washington.

Antifa websites and social media accounts both around the United States and from as far away as Germany and Greece have already begun expressing support for Reinoehl, with some citing the Vice News interview while claiming he was murdered by police.

Pro-Antifa websites such as It’s Going Down and CrimethINC have not yet addressed the death of Reinoehl. In the case of Antifa member Willem Van Spronsen –who was killed in a shoot-out while attack an ICE Facility in Tacoma, Washington in 2019—pro-Antifa websites reproduced memorials and republished the shooter’s written manifesto.

Local and Federal Law Enforcement should be prepared for the possibility of reprisals. After the death of Antifa member Charles Landeros -who was killed by police attempting to shoot a school resource officer- an improvised explosive device was left outside the Eugene, Or police station but did not detonate. Individual officers should also take precautions as Antifa is known to utilize doxxing -the malicious spreading of personally identifying information- to target law enforcement, including federal law enforcement.

The U.S. Marshals Service continues to show itself adept at finding and successfully arresting Antifa members and serving as the tip of the spear in federal efforts to disrupt riots. In addition to playing a key role in the defense of the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Portland, U.S. Marshals Service has also successfully coordinated with local law enforcement in recent weeks to disrupt Antifa travelling and transporting supplies across state lines, including in the arrest of the Seattle-based “Riot Kitchen,” who were detained in Kenosha, Wisconsin filling up gas containers in what authorities believed were preparation for arson and rioting.

About Kyle Shideler

Kyle Shideler is the Director and Senior Analyst for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism at the Center for Security Policy. Mr. Shideler specializes in Islamist groups operating in the United States, having spent over a decade researching and writing on their history, doctrine, and impact. Read his complete bio here. Follow Shideler on Twitter at @ShidelerK.