Portland, OR - Two men were fatally stabbed and one was wounded when they tried to stop Jeremy Christian from yelling hate speech at a group of women on a Portland light-rail train on Friday, May 26.
According to The StarTribune, the incident occurred late Friday afternoon on a Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) train that was headed east.
While on the train, Jeremy Christian began yelling "a racial tirade" at two young women, one black, and her friend, who was wearing a hijab. He was heard to say that "Muslims should die" and "Muslims have been killing Christians for years."
Portland Police Sergeant Pete Simpson said that "In the midst of his ranting and raving, some people approached him and appeared to try to intervene with his behavior and some of the people that he was yelling at." He said that "they were attacked viciously."
One victim, Ricky John Best, was pronounced dead at the scene, and a second victim, Taliesin Namkai Meche, died at a hospital. Local media reports at least one of them had their throat slit.
A third victim, Micah Fletcher was also stabbed but he was transported to a hospital and is expected to survive. They didn't apparently know Christian but were trying to protect the two women whom the hate speech was directed at, according to CNN.
Jeremy Christian was taken into custody and has been charged with two counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of second-degree intimidation, a count of being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon.
He is a convicted felon with previous convictions for robbery and kidnapping from 2002. Christian is being held at the Multnomah County Jail under no bond. He could face additional charges once his case is presented to a grand jury.
Video from freelance journalist, Mike Bivins, shows Jeremy Christian attended a rally for free speech on April 29 in Portland where he stood out. He was wearing a cap and was draped in a pre-Revolutionary War-era flag. He arrived with a baseball bat in his hand, which he handed over to the police officer who approached him.
Christian yelled at people and was overheard shouting racial epithets.
Police officers had to separate him from all others at the rally as every group present was openly hostile to him.
Since the attack, reporters have been confused trying to categorize him based on his Facebook posts. Many of his Facebook posts are pro-Bernie Sanders. Some posts suggests he’s supportive of Donald Trump, while others talk about how he could never vote for Trump and would assassinate him if elected.
The only thing that seems consistent is that he’s anti-government, anti-Hillary Clinton, and probably insane. Although, according to one of his Facebook posts, he passed a competency hearing in 2013, which suggests he’s not too crazy to be prosecuted.
Local media sources are reporting that Jeremy Christian had a brain injury which caused mental illness. However, just because he's crazy doesn't mean that he didn't understand what he was doing, and he could still be held accountable for his crimes.
Ricky Best was a 23-year Army veteran and leaves behind four children.
Taliesin Namkai-Meche was a recent college graduate.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these murdered heroes and Micah Fletcher.