In the aftermath of the train stabbing in Portland, Oregon last week that left two people dead and a third critically injured, witnesses are beginning to come forward to share details of the selfless bravery and kindness the victims displayed in the face of evil.
On Friday, 35-year-old convicted felon Jeremy Joseph Christian allegedly stabbed three men who came to the defense of two teenage girls—one of whom is Muslim and was wearing a headscarf—who were being harassed by Christian. According to the mother of one of the teens, Christian was taunting the girls and shouting “all Muslims should die.” Police have identified the victims as 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and Ricky John Best, a 53-year-old Army veteran and father of four. A third man, Micah David-Cole Fletcher, remains hospitalized with stab wounds.
While Christian awaits his day in court, having been charged with two counts of aggravated murder, attempted murder, intimidation, and being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon, the media attention has rightly shifted to the individuals who risked and gave their lives. Portland mayor Ted Wheeler praised the “brave and selfless actions” of the three men, adding they “should serve as an example and inspiration to us all.”
Over the weekend, a woman who said she comforted Namkai-Meche in the moments before his death told KOIN 6 News that the world should remember the recent college graduate as “beautiful man,” who sought to a spread message of love and unity up until his very last breath.
“I just didn’t want him to be alone. I took my shirt off and put it on him. We held it together, I just prayed, all I could do was pray,” said Rachel Macy. “I told him, ‘You’re a beautiful man. I’m so sorry the world is so cruel.’”
“He said, ‘Tell them, I want everybody to know, I want everybody on the train to know, I love them,’” she continued. “He was a beautiful man. That’s what I want people to know.”
Destinee Mangum, one of the targets of Christian’s tirade, offered a heartfelt message of gratitude to the victims and their families.
Destinee Mangum, one of the targets of hate speech on a MAX train, thanks strangers for saving her life. pic.twitter.com/sefmOAyIVt
— FOX 12 Oregon KPTV (@fox12oregon) May 28, 2017
“I just want to say thank you to the people who put their life on the line for me because they didn’t even know me,” she said tearfully. “And they lost their lives because of me and my friend and the way we look. I just want to say thank you to them and their family. I appreciate them because without them we probably would be dead right now.”
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