A Portland stabbing video has been released, and it shows suspect Jeremy Joseph Christian ranting against Muslims, Christians, and the city government shortly before he attacked other travelers on the Oregon MAX train. Two people were killed, and one person injured, as a result of the incident. Authorities are trying to determine if the Oregon stabbing suspect should face hate crimes based upon the details of the crime.
On May 26, a Friday afternoon, the incident started when the suspect began yelling vulgar racial and anti-Muslim slurs at two young women riding the MAX train. The women appeared to be Muslim, and one was wearing the traditional Islamic hijab. The violence occurred near the Hollywood transit station at approximately 4:30 p.m., when Christian attacked three people who were defending the Muslim women. Police arrested the Portland stabbing suspect as he attempted to flee the scene of the crime.
The Portland stabbing victims were identified as 53-year-old Ricky John Best, an Army veteran, and 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, a college graduate from Reed College. Reports indicate that Best died near the MAX train while Namkai-Meche was pronounced dead at a Portland hospital.
Micah Fletcher, the third Oregon stabbing victim, was treated for knife wounds to his neck. The 21-year-old is a student at Portland State University. The third victim is still in serious condition at a hospital.
“Two men lost their lives and another was injured for doing the right thing, standing up for people they didn’t know against hatred,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler. “Their actions were brave and selfless and should serve as an example and inspiration to us all. They are heroes.”
According to WLKY, Destinee Mangum has been identified as one of the two women who were being verbally attacked by Christian. Mangum confirms that her friend who was wearing the hijab is a Muslim.
“He told us to go back to Saudi Arabia and he told us we shouldn’t be here and get out of his country,” said Mangum. “He was just telling us that we basically weren’t anything and that we should just kill ourselves.”
Mangum described the horrifying scene, saying that she and her friend fled to the back of the MAX train. A white man stepped into help the two young women and the defenders began arguing with Christian. But the next thing they knew the suspect “just began stabbing people and it was just blood everywhere and we started running for our lives.”
Jeremy Christian is a known white nationalist who had a prior criminal record for crimes such as robbery, kidnapping, and gun-related charges. On Facebook, Christian had praised Timothy McVeigh and many of his posts were filled with hateful speech directed at Muslims, Jews, and other groups. During a recent free speech march, Christian was seen wearing an American flag as a cape while doing the “Heil Hitler” Nazi salute.
According to NPR, the FBI is investigating but they “say it’s too soon to label this an act of domestic terrorism. Right now, they’re just continuing to investigate.” Christian will be arraigned in court on Tuesday, May 30, but Portland police authorities have not mentioned whether or not they have identified the suspect as a white supremacist.
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Over on Twitter, politics has confused the picture since some try to claim that Christian is a Donald Trump supporter. The attack has been used as an example of a rise in U.S. hate crimes rising under the Trump presidency, but others claim Christian’s Facebook rants prove he was a Bernie Sanders supporter.
A Jeremy Joseph Christian video shows that the Portland stabbing suspect had already gotten in trouble before he attacked people with a knife. According to the witness who recorded the video, shortly before he boarded the MAX train apparently someone had pepper-sprayed the Oregon man after he had hit the woman in the face. The video shows the suspect complaining aloud about the bus driver, telling him to move forward while using many curses.
“He was on the cell phone. He was pretty upset. He was squinting his eyes, venting to his friend on the phone about some girl who had just pepper-sprayed him,” the witness said. “He was complaining about the city, he was complaining about just Muslims, Christians, and just got very violent very quick. By the time we were at the gateway he was talking about wanting to stab somebody and gestured to pull something out of his pocket.”
The witness wishes someone had confronted Jeremy Christian for what he was saying and stopped the attack before it could happen. At the same time, she believes the Portland stabbing suspect wanted a reaction for what he was saying out loud.
[Featured Image by Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office/AP Image]