A man fatally stabbed two people and injured a third on a commuter train in Oregon’s largest city Friday as people confronted him for ranting and yelling “anti-everything slurs,” a Portland police spokesman said.
Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, was on a Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) light-rail train in Portland late Friday afternoon when he started yelling what “would best be characterized as hate speech toward a variety of ethnicities and religions,” police said in news release.
Christian may have directed slurs at two young women who witnesses described as Muslim, one of whom was wearing a hijab, Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson told CNN. While many “news outlets” have characterized this incident as “anti-Muslim,” reports indicate that Mr. Christian appeared to be an equal opportunity offender in his racist, bigoted and xenophobic ranting.
Investigators haven’t been able to verify whether Christian was targeting the Muslim women with slurs, because police have not yet located or spoken with them. Police want to speak with the women and anyone else who left the scene.
As two men tried to calm him down, Christian stabbed them and one other man. One man died at the scene, and a second victim died at a hospital and the injured passenger was being treated at a local hospital and is expected to survive, police said.
Christian was 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 said. He was being held Saturday at the Multnomah County jail without opportunity for bail. His arraignment is set for Monday in county court, police said.
“President Trump must speak out personally against the rising tide of Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry and racism in our nation that he has provoked through his numerous statements, policies and appointments that have negatively impacted minority communities,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said.
“Terrible tragedy on Portland’s Max Train,” he posted. “Champions of justice risked and lost their lives. Hate is evil.”