Stabbing victims hailed as heroes for stopping further violence on public transit
35-year-old Jeremy Joseph Christian was on a light-rail train when he began yelling hateful statements towards two young women, one of whom was wearing a hijab.
Portland police say two bystanders attempting to bring the confrontation to an end were stabbed by Christian as the train stopped. A witness told KATU News that the suspect yelled, “This is free America, I can do whatever I want.”
Christian is being charged with two counts of felony aggravated murder, one count of attempted murder and intimidation charges. The attack happened to occur on the first of Ramadan, the holiest time of the year in Islam.
Who are the victims of this incident?
Myrddin was a 23-year-old who graduated with a degree in economics at Reed College in Portland. He worked for a consulting firm in Portland known as Cadmus Group and enjoyed going hiking as a hobby, according to The Oregonian. Myrddin’s aunt says he had just bought a house and was in a stable relationship with his girlfriend.
She was also on the phone with him when the incident occurred and told him to move away from the situation. In a statement, Myrddin’s aunt said, “I told him to get off the phone with me and videotape what was happening so he could send it to police. I didn’t mean for him to try to be a hero and get himself killed but he was trying to protect those two teenage girls.”
Myrddin’s mom also released a letter saying her son died, “a hero.” In the same statement, she called on President Trump to directly address the issue of hate crimes.
Best was a 53-year-old Army veteran who worked for the city of Portland. Best was in the Army for 23 years before working in the City of Portland’s Bureau of Developments Services as a tech specialist. He had four children – three boys and one girl – and was married.
While in the Army, Best rose to platoon sergeant for Corps maintenance, according to Willamette Week. Best served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and even ran for Clackamas County commissioner as a Republican in 2014. In a profile written about him at the time, Best stated that he wasn’t running to move up to a higher political position. Best told The Oregonian, “No one can say I’m in it for the money, because I don’t want it.”
Fletcher is the only victim of the attack who survived. The 21-year-old Portland State University student is currently still in the hospital with non-life threatening but serious injuries. His neck was punctured and his jaw broke as a result of being stabbed. Fletcher’s mom says that the knife missed his jugular by 1 millimeter. She met the man who saved her son’s life and thanked him for what he did. She told him, “I feel like you were there for a reason.”
On Sunday evening, a picture of him smiling in a hospital bed was released. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help take care of Fletcher. As of publishing, the page received over $200,000 in donations which cover hospital and recovery expenses. A separate GoFundMe page on behalf of Myrddin and Best that covers funeral costs has raised over $400,000.