LACEY — Michael Reinoehl, the suspect in a Portland slaying who was gunned down by a federal task force last Thursday, died from gunshot wounds to the head and torso, said Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock.
Warnock said he couldn’t release how many times Reinoehl was shot.
An autopsy was conducted Wednesday, during which an official cause and manner of death was determined. Warnock concluded the gunshots killed Reinoehl and the manner of death was ruled a homicide. (Homicide, a word often associated with criminal activity, is technically defined as one person taking the life of another.)
The death is under investigation by the Region 3 Critical Incident Investigation Team — a conglomerate of area sheriff’s offices and Washington State Patrol — and is headed by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. No Thurston County law enforcement officers were involved in the shooting. The team is tasked with conducting an investigation and forwarding their findings to prosecuting attorneys. The prosecutors will review the findings and determine whether law enforcement were justified in the shooting.
A Thursday statement from the sheriff’s office indicated investigators were still working to determine whether Reinoehl, who was in possession of a semiautomatic handgun at the time of his death, opened fire on officers before being shot.
“Our team hopes to have statements completed by the involved officers this week and will have answers to some of these questions,” reads the statement.
The investigation is expected to take several months.
An Oregon warrant was issued last Thursday for Reinoehl’s arrest for second-degree murder for allegedly shooting Aaron Danielson. Both men were present during ongoing Portland protests against police violence, and Danielson was reportedly there as part of a pro-Donald Trump contingent. Reinoehl was recorded in a Vice Media interview saying he shot Danielson in self-defense.
The U.S. Marshal-led Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Taskforce responded to Tanglewilde, an unincorporated area near Lacey, and witnessed Reinoehl leaving an apartment there. Lt. Ray Brady with the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office confirmed in an email to The JOLT News that other people were in the apartment Reinoehl was leaving. His connection to the area is under investigation, he wrote.
Various news outlets have reported varying witness accounts of what followed — including that Reinoehl opened fire on law enforcement and that he appeared to be armed with an assault rifle, although no such weapon was found on his person. The Washington Post and The Oregonian reported that one witness, who sought legal representation in the matter, said authorities didn’t announce themselves nor attempt to arrest Reinoehl before shooting him.
The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, in a press release, says authorities saw Reinoehl getting into a vehicle. Shots were fired at some point as officers tried to apprehend him. He fled on foot and more shots were fired. He was pronounced dead on the scene. The U.S. Marshals say, in a press release, Reinoehl “produced a firearm, threatening the lives of law enforcement officers” before he was shot.