Update, Oct. 14, 3 pm:
Nearly one hundred people gathered to memorialize Kealiher on Sunday evening in front of the office for the Democratic Party of Oregon—the Northeast Portland building where Kealiher was hit. The crowd—many dressed in all black, or "black bloc"—waved flares and left candles and flowers on the sidewalk memorial created in front of the building.
Some used spray paint and chalk to write messages on the building, like "RIP Sean" and "Mourn the Dead." Other messages reflected the anarchist and anti-fascist views Kealiher advocated for through his activism work, like "Abolish ICE" and "ACAB" ("All Cops Are Bastards"). Attendees hugged each other and cried as they stood before the small memorial.
PPB has yet to share any new information about the fatal incident.
Kealiher's family has declined to speak with the press, and has asked others who knew Kealiher to do the same. A Twitter page that claims to represent Kealiher's family shared a post this morning said this decision was made in hopes of avoiding "false narratives."
The intention of this account is to alleviate the burden on family and friends. For this reason we have, with permission and the blessing of Sean/Armenio’s family, released this statement in solidarity #LightTheSkyForSean pic.twitter.com/CH5mXr2XVh
— BFGPORTLAND (@bfgportland) October 14, 2019
Within hours of Kealiher's death, far-right social media users began positing conspiracy theories about the circumstances surrounding the incident. Some who oppose his political views have used his death to critique his past involvement in anti-fascist demonstrations.
Original post, Oct. 12:
Early Saturday morning, Sean D. Kealiher, a 23-year-old Portland activist, was killed after being struck by an SUV near the Cider Riot taphouse in Northeast Portland. Kealiher's death is being investigated as a homicide.
According to a media release from the Portland Police Bureau (PPB), Kealiher "suffered critical injuries" as a result of the collision. He was transported to a hospital in a personal vehicle, but did not survive.
"The Multnomah County Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on the victim and determined the manner of death was homicide and the cause was blunt force trauma," PPB notes.
According to the Oregonian, Kealiher "was hit after leaving Cider Riot" and "identified as an anarchist."
Past reporting shows that Kealiher, a Portland native, frequently participated in anti-fascist demonstrations in Portland, where he often used the pseudonym "Armeanio Lewis." Kealiher was quoted under that name in a Washington Post article about the tumultuous protests that took place in Portland following the November 2016 election.
On Saturday afternoon, KATU's Ric Peavyhouse shared this interview with Kealiher from one of those protests:
In Nov 2016, we interviewed Sean/Armeanio at an anti-Trump protest at PSU. He helped organize the protest in support of a Sanctuary Campus: https://t.co/6eBsoN1Pie #LiveOnK2 pic.twitter.com/LvCAGJUr7N
— Ric Peavyhouse (@RPeavyhouse) October 13, 2019
Cider Riot was the focal point for a violent clash earlier this year, when the Portland cidery, a gathering spot for local anti-fascist activists (antifa), was targeted by members of Patriot Prayer, the alt-right group based in Vancouver, Washington.
Shortly after 12 am on Saturday, PPB officers were dispatched to the area near Cider Riot, responding to a report of gunshots heard in the neighborhood. PPB officers found the SUV, which had crashed into the side of a building. There was evidence of gunfire in the car.
We don’t know everything but he was run down outside of cider riot, a frequent hang out spot for antifascists and a previous target of right wing violence. I am deeply saddened. It’s a loss for our entire community.
— Gregory McKelvey (@GregoryMcKelvey) October 12, 2019
According to PPB's press release, homicide detectives believe "there are witnesses and community members with information about this incident and the chain of events that led up to it." Those with information are asked to contact Detective Scott Broughton at 503-823-3774 or Scott.Broughton@portlandoregon.gov or Detective Rico Beniga at 503-823-0457 or Rico.Beniga@portlandoregon.gov.
The Mercury may update this post as more information becomes available.