Two men were stabbed to death and a third was injured following an intervention on a light-rail train in Portland, Oregon on Friday. The men had attempted to stop a man from yelling at what was “best characterized as hate speech toward a variety of ethnicities and religions” according to police. Some of the slurs were directed at two female passengers, one of whom was wearing a hijab.
The men appeared to try to deescalate the situation when they were “viciously attacked” according to the Portland Police spokesman. The police were able to locate and arrest the suspect after he had fled on foot. The suspect had been identified publicly Saturday as 35 year old Jeremy Joseph Christian of north Portland. He is currently being held without bail on two counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of intimidation in the second degree and one count of possession of a restricted weapon as a felon.
The men killed in the attack were 53 year old Ricky John Best and 23 year old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche. The third victim was 21 year old Micah David-Cole Fletcher.
The attack occurred just as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan was to begin at sunset on Friday. It is not known if the attack was religiously motivated. According to the Portland Mercury, Christian was a “known local white supremacist”. His prior Facebook posts seem to corroborate this claim and will be investigated by police.
President Trump was criticized for not commenting on the attack, instead commenting on the “fake media” over the weekend. He did so on Monday from the official presidential Twitter account @POTUS. Trump normally tweets from @realDonaldTrump.
The violent attacks in Portland on Friday are unacceptable. The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Our prayers are w/ them.— President Trump (@POTUS) May 29, 2017
Well said, Mr. President. Our thoughts and prayers are with the heroes in Portland and the loved ones they left behind. https://t.co/M2Zb68ykx5— Vice President Pence (@VP) May 29, 2017