In new, unsealed documents obtained by the Seattle Times, the Portland shooter, Michael Forest Reinoehl watched his victim from a distance and followed closely behind him once he passed Reinoehl’s location.
Reinoehl waited in a nearby parking structure for his victim, Aaron Joseph Danielson, to pass and then began following him immediately before the shooting. The documents submitted for securing the arrest warrant against Reinoehl state that Reinoehl was reaching into his “pocket or pouch.”
“8:44:33 – After Danielson and Pappas [the friend of Danielson- added from explanation] walk by, REINOEHL begins to emerge from the garage while still reaching toward the pocket or pouch on his waistband. Subject #2 [a still yet unidentified male] looks back toward REINOEHL. Danielson and Pappas cross westbound across SW 3rd Avenue and REINOEHL and Subject #2 follows them. The shooting occurs shortly thereafter and is not captured on the surveillance video.”
Immediately following the shooting Reinoehl was seen fleeing the scene with Subject #2.
Adding to the evidence that Reinoehl’s actions were premeditated is information in the documents pointing to Reinoehl’s illegal possession of and acquisition of a firearm. Reinoehl’s son, Devin, had been contacted by Clackamas County Sherriffs in relation to a separate criminal investigation.
“On 9/2/20, I spoke with Clackamas County Deputy Shauna Woodward (#54571). Deputy Woodward told me a coworker had seen open source postings regarding the homicide and notified her because she had recently conducted a criminal investigation of REINOEHL’S son (Devin) which is documented on CCSO case #20-070206. Deputy Woodward stated she contacted me because she learned of information in her investigation that could be relevant to this homicide investigation. Deputy Woodward said that during her investigation, she obtained consent from Devin, to seize his phone data which included text messages. Deputy Woodward said that among the texts was the following from a contact labeled “Dad” on 8/7/20:
“Sell me the gun for a quarter pound of weed and $100 i’m getting tired of this shit I need a piece now.”
Deputy Woodward said she arrested Devin on 8/12/20. Deputy Woodward she she later went Devin’s address, located at 2820 NE 92nd Avenue, City of Portland, and observed Reinoehl at the location.”
Reinoehl was also arrested in July at a protest and had a firearm in his possession confiscated as a portion of the arrest and subsequent investigation which would show why Reinoehl was looking for a new firearm. Additionally, though marijuana is legal in Oregon, any amount over 1 ounce is still illegal. A quarter-pound is certainly above that amount. If Reinoehl was purchasing the weapon for the purpose of the murder or committing a murder, it would clearly show premeditation despite his 2nd-degree murder claim. Suggestions he is “tired of this shit” shows he was considering violent action.
Also interesting from the report was that Danielson was armed at the time he was shot. Though no comment is made regarding the legality of the firearm, he was in possession of a Glock at the time of his shooting, though the report is clear that the firearm was neither displayed nor fired during the altercation. Also in Danielson’s possession was a can of bear spray (pepper spray) that was hit by a bullet, likely the first shot. Danielson likely displayed the bear spray after threats of physical violence from Subject #2.
Unfortunately, there will likely not be much investigation beyond this point or any further discussion into the matter as Reinoehl was killed as law enforcement officials attempted to take him into custody in Washington State. Regardless, Reinoehl was clearly looking to harm someone when he shot Danielson and may have had premeditation back to early August.