Breaking News
More () »

Portland police make arrest in connection with activist's 2019 killing

Sean Kealiher was hit by a driver and later died in the hospital. His death was ruled a homicide, but police made no arrests in the case at the time.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Nearly three years after a Portland activist was struck and killed in a seemingly deliberate hit-and-run, police say that they have arrested a man for his murder.

Shortly after midnight on Saturday, October 12, police responded to reports of a crash and "shots fired" incident near Northeast 8th Avenue and Northeast Davis Street in Kerns. When officers arrived at the scene, they found an SUV crashed into the side of a building, but no people around. There were signs that the SUV had received gunfire, police said.

Shortly after, police learned of someone who'd been brought to a hospital and dropped off. The victim, later identified as 23-year-old Sean D. Kealiher, died in the hospital.

RELATED: Former Proud Boys member Alan Swinney sentenced to 10 years for assault, other charges at Portland protests

Kealiher, who also went by the name Armeanio Lewis, had been hit by the driver of the SUV. The county medical examiner performed an autopsy, ruling his death a homicide caused by blunt force trauma.

The Oregonian reported that Kealiher was hit after leaving Cider Riot, a bar popular with left-wing activists and the scene of a brawl between left-wing and right-wing groups in 2019 that recently culminated in court appearances for three members of Patriot Prayer.

In the years that followed, Portland police released few details about the investigation, but said that efforts to follow up on the case were ongoing.

RELATED: Police: Crowd causes $500K in damage to downtown Portland during memorial for activist killed in 2019

On Thursday, the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) put out a statement announcing that 47-year-old Christopher E. Knipe had been identified as a suspect in the investigation and was arrested for Kealiher's murder. He was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on a charge of second-degree murder.

"At this time, investigators do not believe the crime was politically motivated," PPB said.

This is a developing story and will be updated with more details as they emerge.

Before You Leave, Check This Out