Three victims stabbed in Portland called heroes after defending teens from hate

A Muslim woman, who preferred not to giver her name, prays at a makeshift memorial. (Photo by Terray Sylvester for Reuters.)

People are mourning in Portland after two men died and a third was injured after confronting a man who witnesses say was yelling hateful slurs at two teenagers on a train.

Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, and Ricky John Best, 53, died after they were stabbed on Friday. A third man, Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, is recovering from serious injuries.

Police arrested Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, who faces charges of aggravated murder, attempted murder, intimidation and being a felon in possession of a weapon, according to CBS News. He was scheduled for his first court appearance on Tuesday.

Witness Rachel Macy told The Oregonian that she was on a Portland MAX train when Christian boarded and started yelling anti-Muslim slurs and using other racist language.

Macy said she did not see the two young women that were being targeted, but that the three men Namkai-Meche, Best and Fletcher stepped between Christian and the women and appeared to try to de-escalate the situation by talking to him.

The train conductor announced over the loudspeaker that Christian would have to leave, Macy said, but as the train stopped at the next stop, Macy said Christian stabbed the three men.

Macy tried to assist Namkai-Meche, and she told the Oregonian his last words before the ambulance took him to the hospital, “Tell everyone on this train I love them.” He later died at the hospital.

CBS News reported that the Facebook page that appears to belong to Christian showed sympathy for Nazis and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

One of the young women, Destinee Magnum, 17, told television station KPTV that she and her friend, who was wearing a hijab, were grateful that the men put their lives on the line.

“Because they didn’t even know me and they lost their lives because of me and my friend and the way we look,” she told reporters.