Trump on Feds' Killing of Portland Suspect: They Didn't Intend to Arrest

'They didn’t want to arrest him, and 15 minutes' later, he was dead, POTUS says
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2020 12:11 AM CDT
Updated Oct 16, 2020 2:03 AM CDT
Trump on Feds' Shooting of Portland Suspect: They Went In to Kill
President Donald Trump gestures after speaking with members of the press on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

At a North Carolina rally Thursday, President Trump praised the US Marshals who shot and killed the man suspected of fatally shooting a supporter of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer at an August protest in Portland. "We sent in the US Marshals, took 15 minutes and it was over. Fifteen minutes and it was over. They got him. They knew who he was. They didn’t want to arrest him, and 15 minutes, that ended," Trump said of the Sept. 3 killing of Michael Forest Reinoehl, who was accused of killing Aaron Jay Danielson just days prior. Federal authorities tracked him down in Washington state and shot him at least 30 times; 21 of the 22 witnesses interviewed by the New York Times for a piece on the incident this week say they did not hear officers identify themselves or give any commands before they started shooting.

Trump has championed Reinoehl's killing before. "Now we sent in the US marshals for the killer, the man that killed the young man in the street," Trump said on Fox News last month, per Vox. "Two and a half days went by, and I put out [on Twitter], ‘When are you going to go get him?’ And the US marshals went in to get in, and in a short period of time, they ended in a gunfight. This guy was a violent criminal, and the US marshals killed him. And I’ll tell you something—that’s the way it has to be. There has to be retribution when you have crime like this." It remains unclear whether Reinoehl pulled a gun or fired on officers before he was shot; a a loaded .380-caliber handgun was allegedly found in his pocket. There is no surveillance footage of the incident, the Guardian reports. (Also Thursday, Trump held his town hall. More on that here, or see highlights from Joe Biden's competing town hall here.)

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