A man charged with fatally stabbing two men and injuring a third who tried to shield young women from an anti-Muslim tirade appeared to brag about the attacks as he sat in the back of a police patrol car, saying “that’s what liberalism gets you,” according to court documents.
The probable cause affidavit filed Tuesday offers the most complete official account to date of the events that unfolded Friday on a light-rail car packed with commuters eager to get home for the Memorial Day weekend.
Jeremy Joseph Christian, the man arrested in the stabbings, shouted “You call it terrorism! I call it patriotism!” and “Death to the enemies of America!” as he made his first appearance in the case Tuesday. Christian, 35, did not enter a plea and has another court date June 7.
Defense attorney Gregory Scholls did not return a call for comment after the hearing.
A probable cause affidavit describes a chaotic scene on the train from the moment Christian boarded.
He was drinking sangria from a large, bladder-style bag and began shouting anti-Muslim slurs once he spotted the two young women.
Both are black and one was wearing a Muslim head covering, according to the affidavit signed by Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Ryan Lufkin.
One passenger tried to intervene and was not hurt. The women moved away from the defendant.
Surveillance video then shows Christian turn his attention to a man, Taliesin Namkai-Meche, who was seated. It wasn’t immediately clear if Namkai-Meche, 23, said something to Christian to draw his attention, but he stood up as Christian began shouting at him.
A third passenger, Micah Fletcher, stood up as well and pushed Christian hard enough to make him stumble, the affidavit said.
Christian pulled a folded knife from his pocket and concealed it in his hand. As a shoving match ensued, the documents say Christian stabbed first Fletcher, then Namkai-Meche. A fourth passenger, Ricky Best, tried to come to their aid and was immediately stabbed as well.
Best, 53, died on the train and Namkai-Meche died at the hospital a short time later. Fletcher survived and was released from the hospital Monday. He attended Christian’s court hearing but did not speak with reporters.
Autopsies showed both victims died from stab wounds to their necks and Best also had a fractured vertebra. The stab wound to Fletcher’s neck “missed being a fatal injury by millimeters,” court papers said, quoting his doctors.
In the patrol car, Christian can be heard on surveillance video saying he stabbed three people in the neck and that he can “die a happy man,” according to court papers. (AP)