The Patriot Prayer supporter killed in Portland Saturday night had cancelled his 40th birthday plans to go to the pro-Trump rally, according to reports.
Aaron ‘Jay’ Danielson, 39, is said to have been gunned down just before he got home as Black Lives Matter protesters clashed with Trump supporters who drove in a caravan through the city.
Joey Gibson, the leader of Patriot Prayer, said: ‘He loved to go to demonstrations.’ But Danielson’s friends and family say they do not know why he would have canceled his birthday plans to go camping as he loved nature, The Oregonian reports.
Stephanie Wilcox, 37, told the paper: ‘He liked to watch and take videos. He was not one to start a fight or get loud in somebody’s face.’
Aaron ‘Jay’ Danielson, 39, cancelled his 40th birthday plans to go to the pro-Trump rally, according to reports; he was later shot dead in during clashes Saturday night
Police arrived on the scene ‘within a minute’ of when gunshots rang out. The victim, later identified as Danielson, is seen wearing a hat with the insignia of Patriot Prayer, a right-wing group whose members have frequently clashed with protesters in Portland in the past
In disturbing footage, recorded by videographer Justin Dunlap, the victim, later identified as Danielson, appears to be following two other people down a street before two gunshots ring out and a cloud of smoke erupts at the source.
The person who appeared to fire the shots and a handful of other people nearby then flee out of view as the victim staggers for a few feet and collapses on the ground.
Several people are seen rushing over when a car turns a corner and skids to a stop in front of the victim, Danielson, who Gibson said kept a low profile and was only armed with bear spray, was shot in the chest and died at the scene.
Danielson’s friends and family say they do not know why he would have canceled his birthday plans to go camping as he loved nature ‘He was not one to start a fight or get loud in somebody’s face’, one friend said
Street medics and protesters help to treat Danielson, who was shot near a Pro-Trump rally
Gibson said Danielson had earlier spent time ‘just talking to random BLM supporters’ in ‘ususally friendly’ chats at a pro-police demonstration in Camas on Friday night.
Michael Forest Reinoehl, 48, was on Monday identified by anonymous police sources cited by The Oregonian as the man under investigation for the shooting. No one has been arrested in the case.
Reinoehl is also said to have been at the event in Camas the night before; it is not known if the two men met that night.
In an interview at her Oregon home, Michael’s sister April told DailyMail.com her brother had been estranged from their family for three years after stealing medication from their mother who has dementia.
Michael Forest Reinoehl, the Antifa member under investigation for shooting dead a Trump supporter in Portland, was abusive to his mother and stole from his family, his sister claimed to DailyMail.com
Danielson’s friend Chandler Pappas, who was with him on the night he was shot, told The Common Sense Conservative: ‘They recognized our Patriot Prayer hats. They executed my partner. They hunted him down.’
Just hours before he was shot in the chest Saturday night, Danielson and his friend were seen heading downtown to protect a flag-waving caravan of Trump supporters.
They wore hats with the insignia of Patriot Prayer and appeared armed with knives and paintball guns.
‘Paint is a defensive mechanism. Paint is not bullets,’ Trump said during his White House briefing Monday, adding that someone connected with violent protests ‘shot a young gentleman and killed him. Not with paint but with a bullet.’
In cellphone video of the shooting, both Danielson and his assailant were seen on a darkened street. At least three shots rang out in a smoky haze, followed by images of Danielson crumpled on the ground as the friend, Chandler Pappas, slaps him in the face and rolls him over, yelling ‘Jay! Jay!’
‘He was a good man and he was just killed senselessly for no reason other than he believed something different than they do,’ Pappas told supporters during a rally Sunday. ‘He was Christian. He was conservative.’
Added Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson on his Facebook page: ‘We love Jay and he had such a huge heart. God bless him and the life he lived.’
Luke Carrillo, center, speaks about Aaron Danielson at a news conference Monday
Portland police hold back a man who was friends with Danielson, the victim of Saturday night’s fatal shooting, minutes after the incident
What to know about Patriot Prayer as Trump supporters take stand in Portland
Since 2016, Patriot Prayer has hosted dozens of pro-gun, pro-Trump rallies in the Pacific Northwest and attendees have repeatedly clashed with left-wing groups in the Portland area. In August, the group’s supporters have staged counter-rallies which have sometimes turned violent.
Supporters have echoed Trump’s characterization of Portland protesters as ‘radical anarchists.’
Patriot Prayer, founded by right-wing activist Joey Gibson, says it is on a non-violent mission to prevent the United States from becoming a ‘Godless, socialist’ country, but its opponents accuse it of provoking clashes.
The group’s rallies have been attended by the Proud Boys and other anti-government extremist groups with records of violence, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
On Sunday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown denounced Patriot Prayer supporters as instigators of the violence.
‘The right-wing group Patriot Prayer and self-proclaimed militia members drove into downtown Portland last night, armed and looking for a fight,’ Brown said in a statement. ‘I will not allow Patriot Prayer and armed white supremacists to bring more bloodshed to our streets.’
Gibson denies that the group espouses violence, white supremacy or xenophobia. On local radio this week, he described the shooting victim, Danielson, as a ‘very gentle, very courageous’ person.
Gibson faces felony riot charges stemming from a 2019 clash with left-wing activists outside a pub in Portland to which he has pleaded not guilty. He did not return Reuters’ request for comment.
Patriot Prayer has some 3,000 members in a private Facebook group and more than 34,000 followers on a public Facebook page.
Ex-girlfriend Christine Banks said Monday Danielson didn’t discuss politics much but of the weeks-long protests in Portland: ‘He didn’t think it was right. … He was there for peace.’
Banks said Danielson was a good person who loved nature and animals.
‘If you ask anybody, the one thing they´ll remember him by is his goofy, beautiful smile,’ she said.
‘He cared about what you believed in and not the color of your skin.’
A GoFundMe site late Monday said it had raised $33,000 from more than 900 donors for ‘legal/lawyer fees, and towards fulfilling all other incurred costs in this time of need.’
Danielson, a burly, bearded man, helped run a company in Portland called North West Specialty Moving that focused on transporting heavy items such as marble statues, hot tubs and gun safes.
The company´s address, which is the same address listed for Danielson for two parking violations in 2019, is a modest blue bungalow in a residential neighborhood in southwest Portland.
Luke Carrillo, Danielson´s long-time business partner, said they’d been friends for 20 years.
‘We have lived and worked together day in and day out,’ he told reporters. ‘We are like brothers, brothers that chose one another.’
Danielson is associated with another company, Oregon Pro Arms LLC, which according to state records is focused primarily on moving gun safes.
Just hours before the shooting on Saturday, Pappas stood in a mall parking lot in suburban Clackamas talking to a reporter from the Portland Tribune.
The man next to him who appeared to be Danielson didn´t say much, except to make a reference to a journalist who had been attacked last year in Portland.
‘We´re all about independent journalism,’ the man said.
Pappas at one point interjected, referring to the Trump caravan, ‘I´m here to stop people from assaulting these people.’
Critics have said that instead of keeping the peace, Patriot Prayer has helped incite violence. Last month in nearby Gresham, Pappas showed up to counter a Black Lives Matter event and, according to the Portland Tribune, declared: ‘I came here ready for war.’
Portland police have yet to make an arrest. On Monday, they asked for witnesses and those who had taken video of the scene to contact them.
A small memorial to Danielson took shape Monday on a sidewalk in front of the parking structure where he collapsed. It included four yellow daises tied to a tree, a small American flag flapping in the wind, and a sympathy card with a Bible verse and handwritten note.
‘Jay went to Jesus, where will you go?’
A small memorial to Portland, Oregon fatal shooting victim Aaron J. Danielson