A former Marine and Iraq War veteran had his guns confiscated under an Oregon “red flag” law after pledging to “wipe out” antifa if necessary.
Shane Kohfield, 32, made the comments while armed at a July 20 rally outside Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s house. Wearing body armor and a “Make America Great Again” cap, he was among about two dozen demonstrators who gathered that day to criticize Wheeler’s handling of recent violent demonstration and demand he denounce antifa.
“If antifa gets to the point where they start killing us, I’m going to kill them next,” Kohfield warned through a loudspeaker. “I’d slaughter them, and I have a detailed plan on how I would wipe out antifa.”
Based on that threat, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task had Kohfield committed to a veteran’s hospital in Portland, where he stayed for 20 days, The Oregonian reported. The task force also invoked Oregon’s new “red flag” law to temporarily seize his firearms.
The moves came in the wake of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. City officials and law enforcement were preparing for an Aug. 17 showdown between antifa and right-wing activists in downtown Portland. Kohfield had planned to attend.
While the FBI declined The Oregonian’s request for comment on Kohfield’s case, a spokeswoman for the Portland office sent a statement saying that the task force sometimes takes a “holistic” approach in response to a “threat against the people of Oregon.”
Who is Shane Kohfield?
According to The Oregonian, Kohfield was released from the veterans’ hospital on Tuesday and returned to his father’s house in Canby, Oregon. Having served two tours of duty in Iraq, he receives disability payments for injuries he sustained during his deployment. He has bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
In an interview with the newspaper, Kohfield said he had attended the July 20 rally because he felt the city was not protecting residents from the threat posed by antifa, a loose network of anti-fascist activists that endorse violence as self-defense. At the only other rally he attended, in November, he was assaulted by masked activists, he said.
“I was watching on the news that city of Portland did nothing to protect the people against antifa,” he explained. “I figured I’d show up to protect these people.”
Last week, a left-wing media network leaked an FBI report that showed the agency sees “black identity extremists” as a bigger threat than white supremacists.
For his part, Kohfield said he issued the warning to antifa in hope of deterring violence, but never planned to hurt anyone.
“I figured that the key to de-escalating the situation was to not be the most violent person in the room,” he said. “It was to be the scariest person in the room.”
However, he acknowledged: “I looked unhinged. I looked dangerous and have the training to be dangerous.”
He said he was done attending local political demonstrations.
“I have done everything I can possibly do to keep both sides from killing each other,” he said. “As long as they keep duking it out like this, it will achieve nothing.”
Why the FBI came for Shane Kohfield
Kohfield was hospitalized and deprived of his guns ― an AR-15, a pistol, a rifle and a shotgun ― on Aug. 7 via an “extreme risk protection order,” The Oregonian reported. Kohfield said he was placed under psychiatric observation for five days, and then voluntarily stayed in the hospital for another two weeks.
A judge approved the protection order on July 25 based on a Portland police “threat investigation” of Kohfield that was opened following his comments outside them mayor’s house, as well as based on interviews a sheriff’s deputy conducted with him and his father at their home in April.
According to The Oregonian, the FBI first became aware of Kohfield after U.S. Capitol Police reported a March letter he sent to Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a Texas Republican and fellow war veteran. Kohfield urged the former Navy Seal to convince Congress to declare antifa a terrorist group. Otherwise, Kohfield said, he and other veterans would have to commit “genocide” against antifa members. He included a detailed outline of how he would carry out the mission.
Oregon is one of about a dozen states to pass red flag laws in recent years, and at least 16 states now have them on the books. The laws allow authorities to get extreme protections orders to take firearms from people who are deemed at risk of shooting themselves or others, even if they have not committed a crime. Each order stands for a year, but can be appealed or extended indefinitely.
Following recent mass shootings, Trump, Crenshaw and others voiced support for red flag laws as a potential response that could win bipartisan support. However, the National Rifle Association and gun rights advocates quickly shot down the idea.
On Saturday, a shooting rampage in Odessa, Texas, Saturday left seven dead and 19 injured, police said. After a pursuit, officers shot and killed the gunman outside a movie theater in the West Texas city.