PORTLAND, Ore. – A man accused of a fatal stabbing two people and the wounding of a third who tried to protect young women from an anti-Muslim tirade appeared to boast about the attacks, he sat in the back of a police patrol car, say: “that is what liberalism will get you,” according to the court documents.
The probable cause affidavit filed Tuesday offers the most complete official account to date of events that unfolded Friday on a light-rail car filled with commuters eager to get home for the Memorial Day weekend.
Jeremy Joseph Christian, the man arrested in the sting, and shouted “You call it terrorism! I call it patriotism!” and “Death to the enemies of America!” as he made his first appearance in the case Tuesday. Christian, 35, has no plea and has another court date on June 7th.
Lawyer Gregory scholl presents his not return a call for comment after the hearing.
A probable cause affidavit describes a chaotic scene in the train from the time that the Christian on board.
He was drinking sangria out of a large, bladder-style bag, and started shouting anti-Muslim insults as soon as he saw the two young women.
Both are black and one was wearing an Islamic headscarf, according to the affidavit, signed by Multnomah County Deputy district Attorney Ryan Lufkin.
A passenger tried to intervene and was not injured. The women moved away from the suspect.
Surveillance video shows the Christian turn his attention to a man, Taliesin Namkai-Meche, who was. It was not immediately clear whether Namkai-Meche, 23, said something to be a Christian to draw his attention, but he was as Christian began to yell at him.
A third passenger, Micah Fletcher, was on and pushed Christian hard enough to make him stumble, the affidavit said.
Christian pulled out a folded knife from his pocket and put it in his hand. If that match is there, the documents say that a Christian put first Fletcher, then Namkai-Meche. A fourth passenger, Ricky Best, tried to come to their aid and was immediately stung.
Best, 53, died on the train and Namkai-Meche died in hospital a short time later. Fletcher survived and was released from the hospital Monday. He went to Christian’s court hearing but did not speak with journalists.
Autopsies showed both victims died from stab wounds to their necks, and Best also had a broken vertebra. The stab wound to Fletcher’s neck, “missed a fatal injury by millimeters,” court papers said, quoting his doctors.
In the patrol car, Christian can be heard on surveillance video saying that he put three people in the neck, and that he can “die a happy man,” according to court papers.
The Pacific Northwest is a leader in many social liberal fronts, including raising the minimum wage and the legalization of recreational marijuana, but the region has a long and violent history of white supremacist and other racist activities.
Many of the first inhabitants of Oregon were from Southern states and brought with them negative views about blacks, said Karen Gibson, a professor of urban studies at Portland State University. At this moment, more than 70 percent of Portland is non-Hispanic white and only 6 percent of the population is black, according to the most recent U. S. Census data.
“The idea that Portland is so liberal replaces this dark, hidden secret about racism,” Gibson said.
One of the most notorious attacks in Portland’s racial history occurred in November 1988, when an Ethiopian immigrant named Mulugeta Seraw was beaten to death with a baseball bat by three white supremacists in front of his apartment.
The White Aryan Resistance lost a multi-million dollar civil lawsuit in 1990 crippled the organization, but the murder left an indelible mark on the city.
As a memorial for Friday of the stabbing victims grew, a large chalk message was, streaking through the rain, under a gray sky: “do not Forget Mulugeta Seraw.”
Friday the attack happened on the first day of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month marked by daily fasting from sunrise to sunset and is the latest in a string of apparent hate crimes in the region.
In March, an Iranian refugee who lived in the suburb of Troutdale to find his house painted with racist graffiti and death threats. In December, the prosecutor accused of a man with a hate crime after police said he chased and killed a black teenager with his car in the suburb of Gresham.
Earlier this year, the organizers of a small community parade connected with the famous Rose Festival canceled the celebration over fears of violence, after protesters said that the local Republican y had plans to create a “neo-Nazi hate group” to march with them. Local GOP leaders denied the charges.
For years, Portland is the home base for the popular front, a now defunct white separatist organization, founded in 1994, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.
“I don’t have that feeling like it can’t happen here — the way people talk about Portland because we have racism. We have all types of things,” said Murr Brewster, who came to see a monument in the city transit center.
Mayor Ted Wheeler asked the organisers of the rally’s set for 4 June and 10 June to cancel fear it could further enflame tensions. The June 4 event organized by the group of the Patriot Prayer is billed on the Facebook page as a Trumpet Free Speech Rally, “one of the most liberal areas of the west coast.”
Rally organizer Joey Gibson condemned Christian in a telephone interview with The AP, but refused the mayor’s call to cancel his event.
He acknowledged that the Christian had shown to a Patriot Prayer rally on 29 April with a baseball bat and had the Nazi salute. But Gibson said he hurled insults at the rally organizers as well as counter-protesters.
“He was yelling at everyone, swearing at everyone. He threatened me and tons of people,” Joey Gibson said.
A number of counter-protests planned.