‘Straight to Gunshots’: How a U.S. Task Force Killed an Antifa Activist

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The U.S. Marshals Service declined to comment for this article, citing the pending investigation. The agency previously said that it had attempted to “peacefully arrest” Mr. Reinoehl and that he had threatened the lives of law enforcement officers.

President Trump, who has described the racial justice protests that have roiled the nation as the work of lawless criminals, praised the operation.

“This guy was a violent criminal, and the U.S. Marshals killed him,” the president told Fox News. “And I will tell you something, that’s the way it has to be. There has to be retribution when you have crime like this.”

Mr. Reinoehl had joined protesters in Portland in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing by the Minneapolis police in May, writing online that they were waging a necessary war with the potential to “fix everything.” He devoted himself to the Black Lives Matter movement and once touted himself as “100% ANTIFA all the way.”

Mr. Reinoehl, a 48-year-old contractor and professional snowboarder, had run into trouble with the law in June, when he was cited for driving under the influence of a controlled substance and having an unlicensed firearm in the car. Later, during the protests, the police arrested him and cited him for carrying a loaded firearm in a public place, but prosecutors dropped the charges.

When the protests against the police got underway in Portland, he carved a niche for himself providing security, watching for agitators. After a caravan of supporters of Mr. Trump arrived in Portland on Aug. 29 and began clashing with the protesters, a security camera showed Mr. Reinoehl keeping an eye on one of them — Aaron J. Danielson, a supporter of the far-right group Patriot Prayer who was walking with a can of bear repellent and an expandable baton.

Seconds later, a separate livestream video captured Mr. Danielson being shot, and The Oregonian newspaper reported later that Mr. Reinoehl was under investigation in the case. In an interview while he was in hiding that Vice News broadcast on Sept. 3, Mr. Reinoehl said he had fired in self-defense. “That shot felt like the beginning of a war,” he said.

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