Mayor Wheeler: Stabbing victims 'are heroes' for standing up to hate

Gov. Brown address MAX train double murder

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The day after a stabbing on a MAX train left two people dead and another injured, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler issued a statement from London in which he saluted the bravery of the victims and called them "heroes."

"Two men lost their lives and another was injured for doing the right thing, standing up for people they didn't know against hatred. Their actions were brave and selfless, and should serve as an example and inspiration to us all. They are heroes," Wheeler's statement reads in part.

Witnesses said the three victims were stabbed in the neck after they tried to calm down a man who was yelling hate speech on the MAX train, and at one point directed the speech at two young women.

Rick John Best, 53, of Happy Valley, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, of Southeast Portland, were killed. Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, of Southeast Portland, was released from a hospital Monday.

The suspect has since been identified as 35-year-old Jeremy Christian. He was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on multiple charges including aggravated murder.

Background: 2 killed in stabbing on MAX train

Mayor Wheeler was aboard the inaugural direct flight from Portland International Airport to London during the attack. His spokesman, Michael Cox, said Wheeler landed in London at around and boarded the first available flight back to Portland. 

City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, on behalf of city council, issued a statement Friday night denouncing the deadly stabbing and called for the community to come together.

"We need to offer our heartfelt support to the women and others who were targeted. The courage of the people who stood up for them is a reminder that we as a city need to stand together to denounce the hate," Eudaly said.

A memorial was set up Friday night at the Hollywood Transit Center for the victims.

Read Mayor Wheeler's full statement:

"Two men lost their lives and another was injured for doing the right thing, standing up for people they didn't know against hatred. Their actions were brave and selfless, and should serve as an example and inspiration to us all. They are heroes.

"There is too much hatred in our world right now, and far too much violence. Too much of it has arrived here in Portland.

"My heart goes out to the families of those who lost their lives, and to those who witnessed what happened. Thank you to our first responders, who provided aid, and police who captured the suspected killer.

"Now is the time, we must come together as a community and love one another. We must reject hatred and violence. We must seek justice."

Read Commissioner Eudaly's full statement:

"The city of Portland has a heavy heart right now, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the deceased and injured.

"This is an especially sad and disturbing incident. People lost their lives or were injured because they stood up to hate.

"We need to offer our heartfelt support to the two women and others who were targeted. The courage of the people who stood up for them is a reminder that we as a city need to stand together to denounce hate.

"Thank you to the courageous witnesses who helped police locate the suspect before more people were hurt; thank you to the first responders and medical personnel who arrived quickly to administer aid; and thank you to the police for apprehending the suspect.

"These are troubling times across our city, our country and the world. We cannot let this divide us. We need to unite against all forms of violence and hate. Our differences should be a cause for celebration, not something that foments hate.

"I'm asking everyone to reach out and connect with your families, your friends and your neighbors. Let's all stand together."

© 2017 KGW-TV


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