'He didn't die alone': Man who performed CPR on Trimet attack victim speaks

Cpr on Trimet victim

PORTLAND, Ore. -- When crowds started running away from the scene during the brutal MAX train stabbings on Friday, Michael Kennedy ran toward it.

Kennedy, a former paramedic, was there on the train, one car away. He sprang into action and started helping Rick Best, one of the two victims who ultimately passed away.

Background: MAX stabbing suspect is white supremacist with history of violence

"I realized that he wasn't breathing anymore and we were checking for a pulse and couldn't feel one," Kennedy said. "I started doing chest compressions on him." 

Kennedy said it was unlike anything he'd seen in his life.

"I've seen people getting killed before, I've seen car wrecks. I've seen all that. I have never seen or been prepared for two men getting knifed down in an attack," he said.

Kennedy was on his way home Friday night, his normal commute.

"Two times a day," he said. "Five days a week."

Just as he always does, Kennedy rode home in the second car. All seemed normal until he heard the operator.

"The MAX operator said, 'If you don't knock it off in the first car, I'm calling the cops,'" he remembered.

Kennedy wasn't too fazed at first. Then he heard a second warning. Suddenly, the train stopped and people in the first car started running.

"First thing I thought was, 'We're sitting ducks here,'" he said. "You know the Spanish train bombings a few years ago, the London Tube bombings. I was like, 'Well we're just kind of stuck here.' "

Kennedy, who now works as a water quality specialist, pushed concerns aside and went running to the first car.

"What I first saw was the bloody tracks and blood flowing out of the door," he said. "Then I saw him. Then on the other side of Tiliasin was Ricky."

The former paramedic knew it was bad. He said both men had their throats slit near the carotid artery. Best appeared to be in worse shape, so Kennedy, inside that train, knelt beside him and worked to clear his airways.

Then he started performing CPR.

"It felt like a really, really long time," Kennedy said. "You count when you do compressions. I counted to 100 many, many times."

Eventually firefighters arrived at the scene, confirming what Kennedy already knew. Rick Best, a veteran and city employee who was attacked for standing up again hate, was gone.

Taliesin Namkai-Meche died at the hospital. Micah Fletcher is expected to survive.

Kennedy said he hasn't slept since the attack.

On Sunday, he wanted to share two messages. First and foremost, to Best's family.

"He was surrounded by people who were soothing him and caring for him," he said. "He did not die alone."

Second, Kennedy has a message to and about the man charged with this horrific attack.

"I worry about the hundreds of people who are impacted like this. And I hope that it is labeled what it is. It was a terrorist attack. I want that to be clear," Kennedy said.

Best's son said the family is requesting privacy, but he wanted people to hear a phrase his dad said a lot during his life: "I can't stand by and do nothing."

MORE COVERAGE

Stabbing suspect in altercation with woman on train day before attack, police confirm

Fundraising pages for stabbing victims raise almost $800K

Community honors bravery of stabbing victims at vigil

'He was a hero': Mom remembers son killed on MAX train

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

TriMet rampage: 'Compassion, courage and love will prevail'

FBI: Too early to say whether stabbing was hate crime or terrorism

MAX stabbing suspect is a white supremacist with a history of violence

TriMet vows to increase security after MAX stabbings

© 2017 KGW-TV


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