Police Charge Suspect With Murder in 2019 Killing of Prominent Anti-Fascist

Sean Kealiher was run over by an SUV blocks from Cider Riot, the popular leftist hangout

Portland police believe they’ve solved the mystery of Sean Kealiher’s murder.

Kealiher was a prominent anti-fascist who was run over by an SUV in front of the offices of the Democratic Party of Oregon in October 2019. He was 23 years old when he was killed.

Portland police arrested Christopher E. Knipe, 47, earlier today and charged him with Kealiher’s murder.

There was rampant speculation in the wake of the killing, which occurred a few blocks from Cider Riot, the popular leftist hangout that months earlier had been the site of violent clashes between anti-fascists and right-wing extremists.

The police said they do not believe the killing was politically motivated. That assertion will surely be subjected to intense scrutiny. For several years, Kealiher’s mother has urged greater attention to the case, claiming to Oregon Public Broadcasting and The Intercept that detectives were not pursuing key leads.

A man living in a tent across from the location of the killing told newspapers that he witnessed an argument before the crash and described the hit-and-run as road rage.

Knipe has a long history of traffic violations, including driving a vehicle on a bike path. Court documents show his last address as deep Southeast Portland.

Kealiher became involved in Portland street protests at the age of 15 when he participated in Occupy Portland in 2011, according to The Intercept.