PORTLAND, Ore. -- A witness who was on the MAX when three men were stabbed, did not run off the train.
Instead, Rachel Macy stayed and comforted Taliesin Namkai-Meche after he was stabbed.
Macy remembers the moment the suspect, Jeremy Christian, got on the MAX train.
“Something at that stop felt dark. It didn't feel right,” said Macy.
Christian is the man police say shouted racial epithets. Police said he stabbed Namkai-Meche, Micah Fletcher and Rick Best after they came to the defense of two young girls who were the focus of his yelling. One of the girls was Muslim.
“Nobody on that train deserved to be so terrified, and these men stood up,” Macy said.
Macy, even with her headphones on, said she heard Christian before she saw him.
“I didn't want to hear it. When I did pull my headphone off my ear, what I heard the attacker say was 'I pay taxes this is my train' and he was making reference to colored people ruining the city and he had first amendment rights,” Macy said.
It was as the train was slowing to a stop at the Hollywood Transit Center, that she finally turned around.
“It felt tense. It felt like something terrible was about to happen,” said Macy.
She said it all happened so fast. She saw Fletcher step between Christian and the other two men.
“It was an overwhelming effort to de-escalate the situation. It wasn’t aggressive. There was no hatred in the things they were saying. One of the two men said very loudly, 'we just want you off the train,'” Macy said.
She couldn't see who was attacked first. But Namkai-Meche was closest to her. She told him to lay down and then she said another man rushed over to help and give support.
“I wanted the man to live. So as I'm praying with him, I tell him he's a beautiful man,” Macy said.
As she pressed her own shirt onto the wound on his neck, she looked into his eyes.
“He looked directly at me and said 'tell everyone on this train that I love them,'” she recalled.
In that moment she felt what she called a soulhood.
“It's a moment that other people aren't going to be able to understand. But I feel that I just really wanted him to live and I'm sad that he didn't,” she said.
Before she left the MAX train, she said officers allowed her to stop and say a prayer at Best’s side.
Macy said the families of the men are also heroes.
She was able to speak in person with Namkai-Meche's family. She told them what he said, and that he was not alone.
Macy said she hopes to be in touch with both the Fletcher and Best families as well.
At this point, she said the connection she felt with Namkai-Meche is getting her through these challenging days.