Update: The Portland Mercury published videos and photos of Christian at a "March for Free Speech" on April 29 of this year. In them, the 35-year-old is seen repeatedly shouting racial slurs and giving a Nazi salute. The alternative weekly is calling him a known white supremacist citing countless posts to his personal Facebook page expressing a litany of extremist views. In addition to the videos and photos, The Portland Mercury also reported that Christian has a criminal record going back to 2002 which includes convictions of first-degree robbery, second-degree kidnapping, and for carrying and using a dangerous weapon.
City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly called for the Pacific Northwest city to come together in response to the violent tragedy saying, "We need to offer our heartfelt support to the women and others who were targeted. The courage of the people who stood up for them is a reminder that we as a city need to stand together to denounce the hate."
This article was originally published at 12:15pm on May 27, 2017.
The city of Portland, OR experienced tragedy late Friday afternoon. Two men were fatally stabbed and another traumatically injured for intervening when a man began shouting racist, anti-Muslim insults, allegedly directed at woman wearing a hijab.
Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, was on a Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) light-rail train in Northeast Portland when he started yelling what police described as "hate speech toward a variety of ethnicities and religions," in a news release.
According to witnesses, Christian was shouting hate-filled speech about hating Muslims for several minutes before being confronted. In an attempt to de-escalate the situation, three people on the train approached him before the man attacked them.
“This suspect was on the train and he was yelling and ranting and raving, a lot of different things, including what would be characterized as hate speech or bias language,” Portland Police Sgt. Pete Simpson said in a statement. “In the midst of his ranting and raving, some people approached him and appeared to try to intervene with his behavior and some of the people he was yelling at and they were attacked viciously by the suspect.” He continued saying, “It’s horrific. There’s no other word to describe what happened today."
Witness Arsenia Brittel told local news station KGW that the man slashed the throats of his victims recounting that she saw one of the victims "stabbed in the neck and bleeding."
Witnesses attempted to save the lives of those injured. A man on the train, Marcus Knipe, said he helped one of the victims who was bleeding from the neck.
"He ran onto the platform. He had been slashed in the neck but not severe wounds. But still pretty traumatic," said Knipe. "I got him to calm down, sit down, relax so he wouldn't bleed out. Someone threw me a cloth to on his neck, hold compression and wait for the paramedics, keep him calm. I happened to be in the right place at the right time."
The first victim died on the scene. The other two were rushed to the hospital where one died from his injuries. The third, injured passenger is in the hospital being treated for injuries and is expected to survive. Authorities have not yet been able to confirm that the hateful comments were directed at the two women as the alleged recipients of Christian's harassment left the train in the chaos of the stabbings before police had a chance to speak to them.
Jeremy Joseph Christian is charged with two counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of second-degree intimidation and felony possession of a restricted weapon, police told CNN. Police are still trying to determine whether mental health or intoxicants contributed to the event. Before being taken into custody, Christian received medical treatment. The names of the victims have yet to be released.