Suspect confessed to stabbing on MAX train, court documents say

Accused TriMet killer in court

Warning: This story contains graphic details

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The suspect in Friday’s fatal MAX train stabbing rampage entered his first court appearance yelling about free speech.

"Free speech or die, Portland! You got no safe place. This is America. Get out if you don’t like free speech!” Jeremy Christian yelled as he walked into the courtroom Tuesday.

 

“Death to the enemies of America. Leave this country if you hate our freedom. Death to Antifa! You call it terrorism, I call it patriotism! You hear me? Die.”

Christian faces two counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted aggravated murder, one count of assault in the first degree, two counts of intimidation and three counts of unlawful use of a weapon.

The surviving stabbing victim, Micah Fletcher, attended Tuesday's court hearing. 

Christian's next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday, June 7 at 9:30 a.m.

Court documents reveal sequence of events

The homicide detective investigating the triple stabbing on a Portland MAX train says in court documents that surveillance and cellphone videos show Christian cutting the three victims with a knife.

Detective Michele Michaels says in a probable cause affidavit made public Tuesday that the videos include audio of Christian, 35, spewing racial and religious epithets during the attack that killed two men and wounded a third.

Michaels says Fletcher told her Christian yelled the epithets and also threatened to decapitate people.

Read more: Stabbing victim Micah Fletcher: 'I'm just trying to heal and recover'

Police and witnesses said the victims were defending two teen girls who were the focus of Christian's tirade. Both are black and one was wearing a hijab. Michaels said the girls told her they had felt threatened.

According to court documents, Christian was drinking sangria and shouting at the girls and other people on the train. He yelled statements including, "Go home, we need American here," "I don't care if you are ISIS," and "Free speech or die."

After several attempts to get Christian to calm down, he made a sudden move in the direction of victim Taliesin Namkai-Meche, who responded by standing up. Micah Fletcher, who was nearby, got up and stood next to Namkai-Meche. Court documents say Christian shoved Fletcher in the chest and appeared to pull a folding knife from his pocket and conceal it in his hand.

Fletcher shoved Christian back and continued telling him to get off the train. After stumbling and telling Fletcher to hit him again, court documents say Christian stabbed Fletcher in the neck. He then stabbed Namkai-Meche in the neck. 

The third victim, Rick Best, got up to intervene and Christian stabbed him, court documents said. Before leaving the train, Christian stabbed Namkai-Meche and Best again.

Christian got off the train at the Hollywood Transit Center, threatened several people on the platform, and left the area. Police arrested him several blocks away.

Suspect confessed to stabbing

While in the back of a Portland police car, Christian confessed to the stabbing and told officers, "I can die a happy man," according to court documents.

Christian, who was being recorded while in the back of the car, said,"I'm happy now. I can rest easy." 

Court documents show that Christian said, "I hope they all die. I'm gonna say that on the stand. I'm a patriot and I hope everyone I stabbed died."

Suspect has history of encounters with police

Christian, who is a self-proclaimed white nationalist, has a long history of confrontations with police. Detectives are looking into his background and extremist ideology, police said.

Christian has three prior felonies.

He told jailers that he has no income, no mental health issues and does not remember the last time he had a permanent address.

Christian says he went to school through ninth grade, but passed the high school equivalency exam commonly known as the G.E.D. and took some community college classes.

More coverage:

Portland MAX train attack: What we know

Mom of slain MAX passenger writes to Trump

Portland mayor says MAX attack an act of terrorism

Fundraising pages for stabbing victims exceed $1 million

© 2017 KGW-TV


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