An Antifa protester said he acted in self-defense during the fatal shooting of a right-wing group supporter in Portland, Oregon – but a witness and friend of the victim replied that the shooting came from behind without provocation.
& # 39; I didn't have a choice. I mean, I had a choice. I could have sat there and watched them kill one of my colored friends. But I didn't want that, ”said 48-year-old Michael Reinoehl in a video interview published by Vice News on Thursday
Aaron & # 39; Jay & # 39; Danielson, 39, was fatally shot and killed on Saturday leaving a political demonstration in support of President Donald Trump. Reinoehl has not yet been arrested or charged in the case.
Reinoehl did not directly say that he shot Danielson in the video fragment shown by Vice News before the full interview aired Thursday night, but said that his actions that night were self-defense.
48-year-old Antifa member Michael Reinoehl (above) made a statement in a video interview published by Vice News on Thursday, claiming he shot Trump supporter Aaron Danielson in self-defense
Danielson's friend Chandler Pappas (right) said in a separate interview that the shooting took place from behind and without provocation
The victim of Saturday night's shooting in Portland was Aaron & # 39; Jay & # 39; Danielson. He was a member of the right wing group Patriot Prayer and also used the surname Bishop
The police arrived "within a minute" when gunfire rang out. The victim, later identified as Danielson, wears a hat with the insignia of the Patriot Prayer
Vice News reported that Reinoehl feared he and his friend would be stabbed to death, but the parts of the interview published so far do not address that claim.
However, Chandler Pappas, a friend of Danielson, who stood next to him when he died, has blown Reinoehl's testimony and stated that there was no confrontation or provocation prior to the shooting.
"I know they won't produce anything to confirm this story," Pappas said of Reinoehl's claims.
"They came after us, they shot my friend and killed him," said Pappas in an interview with Fox News on Thursday.
When they started yelling at us, we turned around. I didn't even have time to register someone pointing a gun at us before those shots were fired, ”Pappas said.
Identifying the shooter as "a white man", Pappas remarked, "He was the only person downtown that night, besides me, who wore a white shirt."
Pappas said he was not armed during the incident. He said a cloud of smoke seen in the viewer's video of the shooting came from a can of bear maces Danielson was wearing, which he believed was hit by one of the bullets.
The viewer video of the shootout appears to show Danielson and Pappas crossing the street towards a parking garage before someone yells, "We have another one here!"
You hear another person ask, "Here?" just before two shots sounded.
Pappas said no words were exchanged before the shots were fired. He said all he heard before the shooting were words that said, "We have a couple here" and someone shouting, "Get it out".
Danielson is being treated by medics after he was shot dead in Portland, Oregon on Saturday. Fighting broke out in downtown Portland when a large caravan of Trump supporters drove through town
Police hold Chandler Pappas back as medics attempt to resuscitate his friend
Pappas blamed "corruption" and political bias for the lack of charges or arrests in the previous case.
The shooting came after a day of tension between Trump supporters and far-right groups in Portland. Activists attempted to block Trump supporters' vehicles, and Trump supporters sprayed maces and fired a paintball gun from vehicles.
Reinoehl emerged as a suspect in the case after the Oregon newspaper reported that he was being investigated into the murder that took place after Danielson, a supporter of the Patriot Prayer Group, attended a rally in support of Trump.
Portland Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Reinoehl, a self-proclaimed "100% Antifa", has been involved in demonstrations against racism and police brutality in Portland that have been going on for nearly 100 days, according to news and videos on his Instagram feed.
Antifa is a radical left movement that is anti-capitalist and tries to confront those it sees as racist or authoritarian.
Reinoehl said in posts on Facebook and Instagram that he was a professional snowboarder and a veteran in the US Army, ready to fight "to change the course of mankind".
However, a US Army spokesman told DailyMail.com that they had searched their records for a 48-year-old Michael Forest Reinoehl and "could not find this person in our database."
The 2013 Stolen Valor Act states that it is a federal crime to fraudulently use military service for money or other benefit.
In the vice interview, Reinoehl said he was a "former military contractor" who provided "security" for protests against Black Lives Matter.
"I am 100% ANTIFA", said Reinoehl in a post on June 16 using the term for the anti-fascist movement.
“We really now have the opportunity to fix everything. But it will be a fight like no other! It will be a war and like all wars there will be sacrifices. & # 39;
His Facebook page says he is from Gresham, Oregon, a town about 15 miles east of Portland.
Michael Reinoehl is reportedly under investigation by Portland police for the murder of Aaron Jay Danielson, a member of the Patriot Prayer, who was shot dead in a protest
Reinoehl can be seen on the left and shows a bruise from a rubber bullet and on the right snowboarding
In this post he claimed to have served in the army from June 16 and "hated it". He also wrote that he was 100% "ANTIFA" and said, "We don't want violence, but we won't run away either."
Reinoehl had previously been accused of taking a loaded gun to an earlier protest in Portland, and social media posts reveal that he participated in protests against Black Lives Matter.
And the 48-year-old former professional snowboarder has already had several run-ins with the police.
In June, he was charged with racing his 17-year-old son on Interstate 84 with his 11-year-old daughter in the passenger seat at speeds of up to 100 km / h.
Police said they found "usable amounts of marijuana and unidentified prescription pills" in Reinoehl's 2005 Cadillac STS and a loaded, hidden Glock pistol.
The father of two was accused of driving under the influence of a controlled substance and illegally possessing a gun.
The full interview with Reinoehl will air on Vice News Tonight Thursday at 11 p.m. ET.
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