An eyewitness of Saturday’s fatal shooting of a right-wing protester claimed that left-wing demonstrators identified them by their Patriot Prayer hats, hunted them down, and ultimately executed his friend.
The eyewitness detailed the incident in a recent interview and spoke of his friend Aaron “Jay” Danielson, whom he described as a “good man” — not a racist or xenophobe. Despite that, he paid the ultimate price simply because he “believes something different than them”:
— Mike H. (@MikeWeaponized) August 31, 2020
“Last night it escalated to the point that they executed my partner. They hunted him down. They hunted us down. They recognized their Patriot Prayer hats,” he said, affirming the New York Times report.
“Anybody who doesn’t know Patriot Prayer, [Patriot Prayer founder] Joey Gibson, the citizen’s advocate, he’s a good man. We support him,” he continued, describing him as a Christian and conservative.
“‘We’ve got a couple of them right here. We’ve got a couple of them right here. Pull it out. Pull it out.’ That’s what they said,” he continued, recalling the moments leading up to the fatal shooting.
“We turned around — I didn’t even, it didn’t even register that somebody was pointing a gun at us until the shots went off and [the shooter] took off running,” he added.
He said it took a moment to realize what happened.
“Did he just shoot at me? Ok. I’m ok. Turn over and Jay’s dead because he believes something different than them. Jay’s not a racist. He’s not a xenophobe or whatever label. He’s not an ‘ist’ or an ‘ism,’” he said, describing Danielson as an “independent” and “good” man.
“He didn’t do anything to earn a bullet in the chest,” he added.
When asked what he would ask President Trump to do, he pleaded the commander-in-chief to “send troops” to the city:
“Send troops. Arrest these — Portland is as corrupt as any place you’ve ever seen, any place you’ve ever heard about in the movies,” he continued, explaining that he has a friend who is being charged “with a felony riot” while the DA “is letting all these actual rioters out on the street” — a primary reason Oregon State Police opted to withdraw from the city, as seen earlier this month.
“He was just out there waving an American flag. It’s been charges pending for what? Two years,” he said, drawing a contrast between that action and that of the rioters, who have thrown explosive devices at police.
He warned that “more people are going to die” if “we don’t get a handle on this,” adding that the people must vote out “these Ted Wheelers and these Kate Browns and these City Councilwoman Jo Ann Hardesty, who antagonize these people and underhandedly provoke violence on social media.”
In a Sunday statement, Gov. Kate Brown (D) blamed “armed right-wing vigilantes” for the escalation of violence in Portland:
The right-wing group Patriot Prayer and self-proclaimed militia members drove into downtown Portland last night, armed and looking for a fight. Every Oregonian has the right to freely express their views without fear of deadly violence. I will not allow Patriot Prayer and armed white supremacists to bring more bloodshed to our streets. Time and again, from Charlottesville to Kenosha to Portland, we have seen the tragic outcome when armed right-wing vigilantes take matters into their own hands. Gun violence is never, ever the answer.
Authorities are reportedly investigating 48-year-old Michael Forest Reinoehl in the shooting death of Danielson. Reinoehl is an alleged supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement who has been reportedly participated in the Portland protests over the course of the summer. According to the Oregonian, he was arrested on weapons charges in July but ultimately released. He has also identified himself as “100% ANTIFA all the way” on social media.
A woman at the weekend’s Portland protests appeared to dismiss the death of Danielson, telling the crowd, “I am not sad that a fucking fascist died tonight.”
“‘I am not sad that a f—ing fascist died tonight,’ says a woman at the antifa gathering in downtown Portland,” journalist Andy Ngo reported on Sunday, noting that the crowd laughed and cheered:
“I am not sad that a f—ing fascist died tonight,” says a woman at the antifa gathering in downtown Portland. The crowd laughs and cheers. The ID of the deceased is not confirmed but he is believed to be a Trump & blue lives supporter. #PortlandRiots pic.twitter.com/XV6471FSuF
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) August 30, 2020