President Trump on Thursday cheered the actions of a federal task force that killed Michael Reinoehl, an antifa activist from Portland, Ore., who had been wanted in the fatal shooting of a far-right Trump supporter.
“It took 15 minutes, it was over,” Mr. Trump said to supporters at a campaign rally in North Carolina. “We got him.”
A New York Times article and a video reconstruction of Mr. Reinoehl’s death, based on the accounts of 22 witnesses and the officers themselves, raised questions about whether the officers made any serious attempt to arrest Mr. Reinoehl before opening fire with a stream of 37 rounds fired by four officers. While one officer told investigators he thought he saw Mr. Reinoehl grab a gun as officers pulled up, two others did not. A gun was ultimately found in Mr. Reinoehl’s pocket.
Mr. Reinoehl had been a suspect in the shooting death of Aaron J. Danielson in Portland, a participant in a caravan rally of Trump supporters who had clashed with racial justice protesters on Aug. 29.
Mr. Trump on Thursday said that days had gone by without local officials in Portland arresting Mr. Reinoehl. (The authorities in Portland got a warrant for Mr. Reinoehl’s arrest on the day he was killed.)
“They didn’t want to arrest him,” Mr. Trump claimed. “We sent in the U.S. Marshals,” he went on. “It took 15 minutes, it was over. We got him.”
Mr. Trump, seeking to push crime and safety as major issues in his re-election bid, has brought up the shooting several times, once calling it “retribution.” A criminal investigation into the killing of Mr. Reinoehl, led by the sheriff’s office in Thurston County, Wash., where the shooting occurred, is ongoing.