Portland Muslims thankful for ‘heroes’
Portland, Ore. — Muslims in Portland, Oregon, are raising money for the families of two men who were killed when they came to the defense of two young women who were targeted by an anti-Muslim rant.
“I am very thankful as a Muslim, I am very thankful as a Portlander … that we stand together here as one,” Muhammad A. Najieb, an imam at the Muslim Community Center, said Saturday.
The two women “could have been the victims, but three heroes jumped in and supported them,” he said.
A fundraising page launched by his group for the families of the dead men, a surviving victim and the two young women had raised more than $300,000 by Sunday evening.
Police said they’ll examine the ideology of Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, who is accused of killing the two men Friday. Christian’s social media postings indicate an affinity for Nazis and political violence.
The attack occurred on a light-rail train on the first day of Ramadan, the holiest time of the year for Muslims.
Destinee Mangum, 16, told station KPTV - Fox 12 that she and a 17-year-old friend were riding the train when Christian started yelling at them. She said her friend is Muslim, but she’s not.
“He told us to go back to Saudi Arabia, and he told us we shouldn’t be here, to get out of his country,” Mangum said.
“Me and my friend were going to get off the MAX and then we turned around while they were fighting and he just started stabbing people and it was just blood everywhere and we just started running for our lives,” Mangum said.
Alvin Hall said he saw a man bleeding from the neck and his instincts kicked in.
He said he Chase Robinson and Larry Blackwell confronted the suspect, who turned on them with a knife.
“He’s like, ‘You want some of this?’ and started chasing me,” Hall said.
Soon, police arrived and took the suspect into custody.
Police identified the men killed as Ricky John Best, 53, of Happy Valley, Oregon, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, of Portland. Mayor Ted Wheeler said Best was an Army veteran and city employee. Meche worked for the Cadmus Group, a consulting firm.
Police say Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, of Portland was also stabbed and is in serious condition at a Portland hospital.