Tuesday afternoon both the NY Times and ProPublica published stories about the death of Michael Reinoehl, the man who shot and killed Aaron “Jay” Danielson in Portland on August 29. Reinoehl was located several days later in Olympia, Washington, more than 100 miles away. He was clearly on the run and the ProPublica story has some interesting details about how he got there [emphasis added].

Deaven Reinoehl recalls that his father went on the run after the downtown shooting, determined to evade the authorities.

“He didn’t plan on turning himself in at all,” he said…

Deaven Reinoehl said he spoke frequently with his dad in the days that followed. “He was just planning on trying to be on the run,” the younger Reinoehl said. “He didn’t know where he was going. He had people helping him find these safe houses or whatever. That’s why he was in Lacey, but I don’t know anything about, like, those people or anything.”

I don’t think we have to wonder too hard who might have been helping Reinoehl attempt to escape justice for a murder. He said he was “100% Antifa” and those were clearly his people. When he was found in Olympia, he was staying with someone named Nathaniel Dinguss who soon after the shooting of Reinoehl released a statement through an attorney claiming police hadn’t made much of an effort to arrest him:

One resident of the apartment complex, Nathaniel Dinguss, has been of particular interest to law enforcement. After the shooting, he consulted with lawyers who issued a news release describing the shooting of Reinoehl. The release noted that Dinguss, who has so far declined to speak with investigators, claims that deputized U.S. marshals did not attempt to apprehend Reinoehl — or issue any commands — before shooting him. Further, the lawyers wrote, Dinguss did not see a gun on Reinoehl or see him make a move to reach for one. Dinguss, through his attorneys, declined multiple requests for an interview for this story.

What Dinguss’ lawyers and his press release fail to mention is that Reinoehl had been staying with Dinguss prior to the shooting, although authorities don’t know for how long.

“I don’t know whether they’re friends,” said Lt. Ray Brady, who is overseeing the shooting investigation for the Thurston County sheriff’s office and still hopes his team will get a chance to interview Dinguss. “That was the apartment where Mr. Reinohel was staying.”

Since Dinguss and his attorney didn’t volunteer the information about being the person Reinoehl was hiding out with, multiple news reports that quoted his statement didn’t mention it either. Here’s how the Oregonian first reported it (including spelling his name wrong):

Nathaniel Dingess, 39, lives in the apartment complex near Lacey, Washington, where Reinoehl apparently was hiding.

Dingess said he saw Reinoehl walk toward his car holding a cellphone in his hand when two unmarked law enforcement vehicles converged outside the complex in the 7600 block of Third Way Southeast last Thursday night. Officers began firing at Reinoehl, according to a statement issued by Dingess’ lawyer, Luke Laughlin, on his behalf.

The same basic report appeared at Yahoo News, the Washington Post and other outlets, all repeating Dinguss’ account without mentioning he was involved in helping Reinoehl flee from a murder case.

At some point after this story spread, Nathan Dinguss apparently posted an update on Reddit saying he was being evicted and needed to raise $25,000. The details are gone because the post was later deleted by the author, but some of the responses are still there:

I first off want to say that I’m really appreciative of Nate’s additional report and that it’s heartbreaking to hear that his family is under this kind of attack and stress…

But I’m a little sketched out. I went to the Facebook fundraising campaign and they are asking for $25,000. I then searched “Nathaniel Dinguss Pastor” on google and got no hits other than links to his statement. I searched on Facebook and the only profile was for a guy with 3 friends and a picture of what seemed to be a Verizon store under construction. I also found a twitter page of a Nathaniel Dinguss, which admittedly has a different photo that matches the personage of the Facebook profile photo. The last tweet was from 2012.

Being denied from GoFundMe and only fundraising on Facebook and direct Venmo transfers (which either haven’t been made or are set to private– his page shows no activity) for a “pastor” who doesn’t seem to exist on the Internet makes me really worried about who is actually receiving this money…

So make of that what you will but I also find Nate Dinguss’ story sketchy and his approach to media outlets was intentionally misleading. As noted above, he refused to clarify anything with ProPublica.

In addition to Dinguss, the NY Times story relays what happened the day Reinoehl was killed from the point of view of two other witnesses, Chad Smith and Chase Cutler:

Around the corner, Chad Smith and two friends, Chase Cutler and Jon Chastain, were wrapping up an afternoon spent working on cars.

Mr. Reinoehl left the apartment and walked toward his Volkswagen, parked along the street roughly 100 feet away…

Mr. Smith said he and his friends turned their heads to the sound of a vehicle accelerating rapidly, headed southbound toward the street where Mr. Reinoehl was walking. A second law enforcement S.U.V., which had been parked across from Mr. Smith’s house, moved in with such speed that the friends thought they were witnessing a road rage incident or a gang shooting.

Mr. Smith and Mr. Cutler ran after the unmarked S.U.V.s, watching as they turned onto Mr. Reinoehl’s street, one cutting the corner and speeding over the grass…

Mr. Smith described it similarly: “There was no yelling. There was no screaming. There was no altercation. It was just straight to gunshots.”

It’s worth nothing that Smith and Cutler appear to have changed their stories. They were first featured in an Olympian story saying Reinoehl had fired at police:

Chad Smith and Chase Cutler, who were working on cars nearby Thursday, said an unmarked SUV had been parked on School Street for a while when that SUV and another converged on a man in a vehicle at the apartment complex. Smith and Cutler moved onto a grassy area about 50 yards away to watch what was happening.

The man got out of his vehicle and began to fire what they believe was an assault rifle at the SUVs. They said they heard 40 or 50 shots, then officers returned fire, hitting the man.

“It reminded me of a video game,” Cutler said.

Vice later ran a story in which Smith claimed he had been misquoted, but even Vice noted that the Seattle Times had reported the same thing (that Reinoehl had pulled a weapon) based on Smith’s account at the time:

“No offense but myself and […] Cutler gave the same statement one time to everyone,” said Smith to VICE News in a wide-ranging Facebook conversation. “Then the next we read [in] the media [and] it’s not at all what was said.”

Smith says he told reporters that he heard what sounded like an assault rifle, but didn’t actually see a gun that matched that description, admitting, “I’m a car guy not a gun person so I’m very unsure.”

Rolf Boone, a reporter at the Olympian who interviewed Smith and Cutler the night of Reinoehl’s death, said he stands by the account of what was said to him.

“I stand by what Chad and his friend told me that evening as witnesses to a very fluid situation,” he said in an email. “Is there a margin of error for witness accounts? Absolutely. That’s why they are treated as witness accounts.”

(It’s worth noting that the Seattle Times reported Smith saying he witnessed the shooting while sitting outside eating dinner and saw Reinoehl pull his weapon on police and fire. There is no mention, per this report, of the weapon being an assault rifle, but Smith did say he heard “bursts of semiautomatic fire.”)

So two different reporters claim Smith told them he’d seen Reinoehl pull a weapon. According to Smith, they both heard it at the same time yet somehow he now says they both got it wrong.

This entire story seems a bit fishy to me and I’m going to wait for more information from an investigation into what happened before jumping on the bandwagon that police had no cause to open fire at Reinoehl that day. I’d also like to hear more about who helped Reinoehl on his run from the police and how Nathan Dinguss fit into that.