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Last October, a well-known Portland antifa militant was killed under mysterious circumstances after leaving a pub popular with far-left extremists. Sean Daniel Kealiher, 23, was killed near the Cider Riot pub after being hit by a car that had been fired upon with live rounds. His friends dragged his body away and did not call the police.
Kealiher’s death immediately rippled throughout Portland and beyond, leading both the far-left and even establishment Democrat leaders to mourn publicly. A GoFundMe for his funeral raised thousands. And while he was lionized in the press as a murdered “anti-fascist activist” and even called a “martyr” by some, an investigation by The Post Millennial can reveal that newly uncovered evidence show he was far more radical than previously reported. In a series of discovered writings, Kealiher urged fellow comrades to commit violent terrorist acts and led training sessions to radicalize other youth.
Before his death, Kealiher was known in the militant anarchist community as “Armeanio Lewis,” one of the many names he also used online. His radical activism goes back to when he was around 13 or 14 during the Occupy Portland demonstrations in 2011. As a minor, Kealiher was filmed being arrested on numerous occasions. The details of juvenile cases are not available to the public.
As previously reported by The Post Millennial, Kealiher was filmed in recent years fighting at left-wing protests and threatening journalists who had cameras at public demonstrations. On numerous occasions, he was also seen travelling with members of the Red and Anarchist Skinheads, or RASH, a violent gang-like group known for brawling with right-wingers at riots. It is unknown if Kealiher was a member of the group. But aside from his known street militantism, The Post Millennial can now report that he also authored extreme literature calling for terrorist acts against schools, law enforcement and the public.
An excerpt from a September 2014 zine by Kealiher titled, “Why Break Windows” reads: “From the simple smashing of windows to the placement of a bomb or the robbing of the bank, our actions are heard and felt rather than ignored and treated as everyday life.”
The zine continues: “The attack is the most beautiful moment an anarchist can undertake. Feeling the adrenaline of rushing to a window with a rock in hand, or the moments before striking a cop with your fist. Planting the bomb, pulling the trigger, shouting f— the police!”
In 2015, an 18-year-old Kealiher tried to stop a police officer from investigating an incident of suspected domestic violence, according to a report by Portland Police. The officer notes that Kealiher physically obstructed the investigation, cursed at him and resisted arrest. The officer says the domestic abuse suspect likely used the distraction to flee. Kealiher was found guilty for interfering with a police officer and sentenced to 15 days in jail.
Two weeks after his death, Kealiher’s extremist zine romanticizing violent extremism was distributed at a memorial potluck in downtown Portland attended by his mother. Several masked individuals acted as security.
Beyond that tract, Kealiher would go on to author more pieces urging explicit terrorist attacks. On his blog, the “Lumpen Prole Distro,” he uses the pseudonym “Armeanio Lewis” and suggests that his writings may have inspired real-world attacks in Portland.
“Shortly after the publishing of this essay, 15 [Aramak] Trucks, the company that supplies school lunches and prison lunches, were sabotaged,” reads the new preface in a November 2014 update to Kealiher’s “Manifesto Against Schools.” The 12-page document continues: “Shortly after that, an entire condo complex was burned to the ground. This fire was the biggest fire seen in Portland, and everything was torched.”
In August 2013, a 46-unit building under construction in northeast Portland was destroyed in a large fire. The flames spread to surrounding apartment buildings, leading to emergency evacuations of residents and further damage. The heat was so intense on the block that cars parked nearby appeared “melted,” according to media reports. Though the fires were among the largest in the city’s history, causing around $6m worth of damage, nobody was injured. An investigation by authorities determined the fire was started through an arson attack. The Federal Bureau of Investigation offered a $5,000 cash reward for information at the time. The incident is listed by the Department of Homeland Security as an instance of far-left domestic terrorism.
Beyond the manifesto’s preface, Kealiher explicitly called for others to engage in violent attacks. “It’s time to get off your knees, unclasp your begging hands and pick a weapon, because those on the other side have already done so,” it reads. The “other side” references current society. “My side, hopefully our side, has so many weapons to choose from. Be it the power of a pen, the strength of a rock, or the power of a gun.”
The manifesto continues: “You can craft your own destruction. Be it burning down a school, smashing a banks window … There is so much to destroy, and so much for you to choose.”
Elsewhere on the blog, Kealiher expressed “unapologetic support” for killing law enforcement and destroying buildings with fires. Most of the blog’s essays were written between 2014–15, when Kealiher was 18 and 19 years old.
He also made efforts to export his ideas into real-world training sessions. In December 2013, a 17-year-old Kealiher organized a training event with the intention of introducing minors to extremist anarchist ideas, according to the flyer for the event. He spoke at The Red and Black Cafe, a now-defunct left-wing Portland cafe, using the pseudonym “John Cracklemore.”
Kealiher’s extreme views were also published on various social media platforms. On Reddit, using a different pseudonym, he recounted a time where he says he trained high school students to fight police officers.
Kealiher’s extremism may have eventually landed him under the investigation of federal authorities, however.
In January 2017, Kealiher posted on Facebook that two DHS agents showed up to his mother’s house to try and speak with him. The details of that alleged investigation are unknown. DHS did not respond to The Post Millennial’s request for comment. His mother, Laura Kealiher, declined to comment for the story.
More than three months have passed since Kealiher’s death but Portland Police have not released any new details in their investigation. What is known is that Kealiher was struck by a vehicle following an argument outside the Cider Riot pub. The attorney for Hyatt Eshelman, who was with Kealiher at the time of the incident, says Eshelman pulled out a handgun and fired at the SUV. The vehicle crashed outside the headquarters of the Democratic Party of Oregon, where the driver and passengers fled on foot.
A vagrant who witnessed part of the incident says Eshelman, 26, and another man dragged Kealiher’s body away, leaving a bloody trail. Emergency responders were never called to the scene by those involved. Eshelman has not spoken publicly about the incident himself but his far-left activism is documented. In November 2016, he was arrested at a violent antifa riot in Portland against Trump’s election win. He was charged with one count of failing to obey a police officer, but the charge was subsequently dismissed. He is also a member of the Rum Rebellion, a radical anarchist punk band.
Online, various antifa activists and groups instructed their comrades to scrub their messages with Kealiher and to not cooperate with police in their investigation. Kealiher’s mother has also come out publicly to demand that nobody associated with her son speak to the media.
While his history of extremism online was known only to his comrades, his violent actions offline were well-documented through law enforcement and the press. Despite this, local mainstream Democrat politicians joined various antifa activists to publicly mourn his death. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler tweeted: “This is alarming and heartbreaking. Our deepest sympathies go out to family and friends of the victim.”
And on the Sunday night following his death, Kealiher’s comrades responded by vandalizing the Democratic Party of Oregon building with antifa propaganda and spray paint. The graffiti messages encouraged others to kill law enforcement, among other things.
Brad Martin, the executive director for the Democratic Party of Oregon, downplayed the graffiti and expressed support for the vandals at the time. He told KATU: “We know that [pain] expresses itself in a lot of ways, including the graffiti on the building and we understand that. It’s just paint.”
But for Sean Kealiher, vandalism was never “just paint.”
In the final paragraph of his “Manifesto Against Schools,” it reads: “We all die anyway, and we will be miserable somehow and somewhere, so why sit by when you can burn? Why sit in your room, dreading going to school? You need not have to, especially when you can BLOW IT UP OR BURN IT DOWN.”