The father and step-mother of a Portland man who was shot and killed near a protest this weekend have a message for Joe Biden and Donald Trump: stop using our son to push your political points of view.
Aaron Danielson would have been 40-years-old on Friday. Danielson went to school in Spokane - the alumni page for Shadle Park High School on Facebook posted his passing on Monday, with members noting that he graduated from there in 1999.
Instead of a milestone birthday party, Danielson's friends and family are planning a funeral. His death has been ruled a homicide, although there haven't been any arrests. Danielson's father and step-mother say that since his murder, they've been contacted by journalists from across the country.
They wanted to speak with KHQ, and asked us to get their message out that Aaron's death shouldn't be used by politicians. They reached out after hearing Joe Biden discussing their son's death.
“They need to do their research better,” Danielson’s step-mom said. “They need to get their facts right, before they say something that’s inciting and make this patriotic man look bad. All parents who lose a child want something good to happen, to come out of it. For us, the good outcome would be, bottom line, that this violence needs to stop. It needs to stop, before someone else’s family member is killed.”
Danielson was wearing a Patriot Prayer hat, and may have been a member of the group. Patriot Prayer is a right-wing group based in Vancouver. Police say they don't know if Danielson's death was politically motivated. His friends say he was a good person and held a news conference in Portland to dispel rumors about him. "We are here," said his friend Michael, "simply to give everyone in this community, in this state and in the torn country an opportunity to know the good and decent man that was lost on these beautiful cities."
Danielson's business partner, Luke Carrillo, said, "Aaron was not a radical. He was not a racist and he was not a fascist. He was not an inciter or an instigator. He was a freedom-loving American who died expressing his belief- a right which is given guaranteed to all of us through the constitution. He was a great man and he did not deserve the end he met. We ask now that Portland, Oregon and the entire country stand together to renounce any further acts of violence. No family or friends should ever have to deal with this kind of loss for any reason at all."
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, blamed Saturday night's violence on the caravan and Patriot Prayer, saying the group and other self-proclaimed militia members drove into downtown Portland "armed and looking for a fight."
Aaron 'Jay' Danielson (Shadle Park HS alum) was killed in downtown Portland on Saturday. Talked to his dad & stepmom, who now keep finding themselves in situations they want nothing to do with: from Danielson's shooting to his murder being used as a political talking point. https://t.co/VFLs4jKkna— Kevin Kim (@NewsWithKevin) September 2, 2020
Danielson's dad & stepmom have been ignoring calls from reporters, but called KHQ after they heard @JoeBiden talk about their son today. Biden spoke about the need to hold shooters accountable, including the person who shot Danielson. Full clip: https://t.co/mVhXK9rYnm— Kevin Kim (@NewsWithKevin) September 3, 2020
Here's the problem: Danielson's parents only heard a cut-off version of Biden's words, which excluded his take that Danielson's shooter should be arrested. They're still upset with the characterization of their son, but agree with Biden's overall point. BUT the other problem...— Kevin Kim (@NewsWithKevin) September 3, 2020
Even if the clip is fully shown, that doesn't mean the politicization will stop (example attached). Danielson's dad and stepmom consider themselves moderates, so the idea that their son's death is being used by either side of the aisle? It upsets them. https://t.co/5Bd2TqZZlG— Kevin Kim (@NewsWithKevin) September 3, 2020
Misinformation associated with Danielson's death affected his family & friends early on. This publication in Portland apologized after misidentifying Danielson (who was known by many as 'Jay') as Jay Bishop, another man associated with right-wing protests. https://t.co/OAmErfwbeZ— Kevin Kim (@NewsWithKevin) September 3, 2020
Patriot Prayer previously stated Danielson does go by 'Jay Bishop,' but his family was adamant he does not. From his stepmom: "There was a different name associated with him & that person was not a good person. There were some terrible things being written about him locally…"— Kevin Kim (@NewsWithKevin) September 3, 2020