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Man killed by police at homeless shelter was once part of white supremacist group

John Elifritz was featured in a 2007 Portland Monthly article as a member of European Kindred, a white supremacist gang formed in Oregon prisons in the 1990s.

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PORTLAND, Ore. – A carjacking suspect who was shot and killed by police inside a homeless shelter in Southeast Portland had ties to an Oregon white supremacist group, KGW has confirmed.

Willamette Week and The Oregonian first reported John A. Elifritz was featured in a Portland Monthly article in August 2007 as a member of the European Kindred, a white supremacist gang formed in Oregon prisons in the 1990s. Elifritz is shown alongside European Kindred leader David Kennedy, and quoted as calling Kennedy a “childhood friend.”

Credit: KGW
John Elifritz featured in Portland Monthly article about European Kindred

In 2010, The Southern Poverty Law Center said at least 300 Europen Kindred members were in Oregon prisons and at least 100 more were on the streets.

It's not clear whether Elifritz was still part of the group.

Elifritz was killed Saturday night after police say he crashed a stolen car near Southeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Stark Street, ran away and threatened others with a knife until he ran into the Cityteam Minstries, a shelter that offers homeless services, about a block away.

Timeline: Carjacking suspect shot, killed by Portland police officers

Vigil for John Elifritz

Once in the building witnesses say Elifritz began stabbing himself and police shot him with beanbags before ultimately using lethal force.

The shooting was recorded by a bystander and has since gone viral.

VIDEO: Viewer video of shooting (warning: graphic violence and language)

Graphic! Police protected us, had to shoot man... #portlandoregon #portlandpolice #news #scaredaf #newsportland #oregon #police

A post shared by Morgan Pickering (@pladladd) on

The video has sparked wide-ranging reaction throughout the community. Morgan Pickering, the man who posted the video of the shooting, says Elifritz lunged at officers with the knife and the officers were "100 percent justified" in shooting Elifritz. However, the ACLU of Oregon, said the video "raises serious questions" about the officers' use of deadly force.

After initially not revealing the identities of the seven Portland police officers and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office deputy involved in the shooting, police released their names on Tuesday after determining threats on their lives were not credible.

More: Police identify officers, deputy involved in shooting of carjacking suspect

Elifritz’s brother told KGW the family intends to sue the officers involved in the shooting.