‘I’m proud of my son’: Spokane father mourns the loss of son shot and killed in Portland protest

PC: David Danielson

SPOKANE, Wash. — The man Michael Reinoehl admitted shooting in Portland Saturday night grew up in Spokane. Aaron “Jay” Danielson was a Shadle Park grad. His family still lives here. 

Danielson’s family would have celebrated his 40th birthday on Friday. Instead, they’re mourning his death. 

In the last few months during the pandemic, Danielson’s father, David, spoke with his son almost daily. 

“We kept telling his to be safe and we loved him,” said David. 

They wanted him to be safe among the turmoil happening on the streets of downtown Portland, a city Danielson loved and was concerned about. 

The night Danielson was shot there was a Trump rally downtown, and he was wearing a Patriot Prayer hat. That group is known as a far-right group that organizes rallies and protests. 

David doesn’t believe his son was on the streets that night to protest, however, he said he was carrying a can of bear spray for protection. 

In an interview with VICE TV, Michael Reinoehl, said he was trying to stop Danielson, who he says was attacking Reinoehl’s friend. He called the shooting self defense. 

Danielson’s father says that isn’t true. The video from that night and what he’s heard from witnesses point to an unprovoked attack. 

“We hope it wakes up the silent majority in doing the right thing,” David said. 

He says the “right thing” is to stop the violence, stop politicizing Danielson’s death, and do better for the country. He’s lost a son. 

“I’m proud of my son,” said David. “Any parent would be proud.”

READ: Report: Suspect in fatal Portland shooting killed by investigators