Deadly MAX stabbing suspect in court: 'You call it terrorism, I call it patriotism'
Jeremy Christian, the man accused of stabbing three men on a MAX train last week, yelled about free speech and patriotism during his arraignment on Tuesday.
Police said that Christian killed Ricky John Best, 53, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, and seriously injured Micah Fletcher, 21, during the attack last Friday.
Witnesses said the men confronted Christian after he verbally abused two teenage African-American girls, one of whom was wearing a hijab.
A probable cause affidavit says Christian confessed to the stabbings while in the back of a patrol car. During an expletive-laden tirade, officers heard him say he hoped the victims died and "that's what liberalism gets you."
Prosecutors say Christian's expletive-filled confession was recorded in the back of the patrol car.
He also allegedly said, "Get stabbed in your neck if you hate free speech."
Then, "I can die in prison a happy man. I'm all good. I stabbed the two (expletive) in the neck, and I'm happy now. I'm happy now. I can rest easy."
That was followed by: "I hope they all die. I'm gonna say that on the stand. I'm a patriot, and I hope everyone I stabbed died."
As soon as he set foot in the courtroom, Christian shouted, "free speech or die, Portland. You got no safe place. This is America, get out if you don’t like free speech."
The surviving stabbing victim, Fletcher, was sitting in the courtroom during the arraignment. He spoke with ABC earlier in the day, saying the city needs to unite in making a safe space for all its citizens.
“If you live here, move here, or if you want to call this city home - it is your home. And we must protect each other like that is the truth, no matter what the consequences,” Fletcher said.
Christian expressed similar views on freedom of speech during an interview at the Multnomah County Jail, court documents show. The Associated Press reports that during the interview, he became belligerent when talking about what he believed to be the suppression of free speech .
Court documents say Christian was taking "large drinks" of wine from a bag before the stabbing took place. After harassing the two young women, surveillance video shows Christian approaching Namkai-Meche.
Fletcher then stood up, and Christian shoved him in the chest before pulling out a folding knife with a 3.5 inch blade. Fletcher shoves him back, and Christian said "hit me again."
According to the affidavit, Christian flicked the knife open and stabbed Fletcher in the neck before attacking Namkai-Meche. Best then rushed forward on the commuter train to intervene, and he was also stabbed, police said.
Witnesses said Christian got off the train at the Hollywood Transit Center, holding out the knife and threatening people on the MAX stop platform.
Police found Christian a few blocks away. Officers said he hurled the knife at a police vehicle before he was arrested.
Christian was charged with two counts of aggravated murder, aggravated attempted murder, first-degree assault, three counts of unlawful use of a weapon, and two counts of intimidation.