MAX triple stabbing suspect facing murder, hate crime charges
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The man accused of stabbing two people to death and injuring another aboard a MAX train Friday night has been identified.
Jeremy Joseph Christian of North Portland is facing two counts of aggravated murder, attempted murder, two counts of intimidation and felon in possession of a restricted weapon.
He'll be in court Monday. More charges are possible.
Christian was seen at a march in Portland several weeks ago, where he was spotted giving what looked like the Nazi salute while hurling various insults at protesters.
You can see him in a KATU News video here:
Police say Christian was yelling hateful statements at two girls, one of whom was wearing a hijab, aboard a MAX train approaching the Hollywood Transit Center around 4:30 p.m. Friday.
His speech was not specifically anti-Muslim and his behavior was erratic, Portland Police Bureau Sgt. Pete Simpson said.
Two men came to the women's defense, and were then stabbed to death by Christian, police say.
"So many people ran, but so many people didn't run, and (they) were there for these people. And one of them had taken their shirt off and had pressed against his neck. But there was like, there was so much blood," witness Chase Robinson said.
The victims killed have been identified as 53-year-old Ricky John Best of Happy Valley and 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche of Southeast Portland. The third surviving victim is 21-year-old Micah David-Cole Fletcher of Southeast Portland.
"[The suspect] said, 'Get off the bus, and get out of the country because you don't pay taxes here,' [he said he] doesn't like Muslims, they're criminals," Evelin Hernandez, who witnessed the attack, told KATU News.
"When the train stopped moving, the guy who stabbed them was cursing and he said, 'This is free America, I can do whatever I want,'" a witness said.
Christian is also no stranger to the law. Court records show he was convicted of robbery and kidnapping in 2002. (See prior mug shots in the photo gallery above).
On Saturday, police said a review of Christian's record with the Portland Police Bureau show he is not flagged as a criminal gang member, nor does he have any known mental health history listed.
The attack has shaken the Portland community. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler released the following statement:
"Two men lost their lives and another was injured for doing the right thing, standing up for people they didn't know against hatred. Their actions were brave and selfless, and should serve as an example and inspiration to us all. They are heroes..There is too much hatred in our world right now, and far too much violence. Too much of it has arrived here in Portland. My heart goes out to the families of those who lost their lives, and to those who witnessed what happened. Thank you to our first responders, who provided aid, and police who captured the suspected killer. Now is the time, we must come together as a community and love one another. We must reject hatred and violence. We must seek justice."
A GoFundMe account has been set up for a third, surviving victim who's recovering in the hospital.
See breaking news footage from Chopper 2 of the MAX stabbing below: