PORTLAND, Ore. – The 35-year-old man identified by the authorities in the fatal stabbing of two people at a Portland light-rail train has a criminal record that includes positions in the prison.
Court records show that Jeremy Joseph Christian was sentenced for theft, kidnapping, and a cargo of weapons in 2002. Christian is being held in the Multnomah County Jail on suspicion of aggravated murder and attempted murder.
Police say two people died Friday and another was injured in the stabbing after Christian shouted racist comments at two young women who appeared to be Muslim, one of whom was wearing a hijab.
The police says that for the stitches, the opponent on the train was ranting about a range of topics, with the help of “incitement to hatred or biased language.”
A person is dead at the scene and the other died in a hospital. The third person was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
“In the middle 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,” police Sgt. Pete Simpson told The Oregonian. “They were attacked viciously.”
It was not clear why the man was screaming, Simpson said.
“He was talking about a lot of different things, not only specifically anti-Muslim,” Simpson said.
The attack happened on a MAX train, heading east. A train remained stopped on the tracks at a transit center was closed while police investigated.
Evelin Hernandez, a 38-year-old native of Clackamas, Oregon, told the newspaper she was on the train when the man began making racist comments to the women. A group of men tried to quiet him, and he put them on, ” she said.
It’s terrible,” Simpson said. “There is no other word to describe what happened today.”
Millions of Muslims marked the start of Ramadan on Friday, a moment of intense prayer, of dawn to dusk fasting and evening celebrations.