PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Jeremy Joseph Christian threatened to “decapitate” people and wished the 3 victims he stabbed would die, court documents show.
Christian, 35, is accused of killing 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche and 53-year-old Ricky Best on Friday after they stood up for 2 teenage girls, one of whom was wearing a hijab, as Christian yelled racial slurs at them. Another victim, Micah Fletcher, survived.
The incident began when Christian boarded a Green Line train at the Rose Quarter Transit Center Friday at 4:19 p.m. The 2 girls he would soon begin yelling racial slurs at were already onboard.
Most of the attack was captured on TriMet security video and passengers’ cellphones, police said.
Police first received reports of a disturbance on the train as it headed from the Holladay Park MAX station to the Hollywood Transit Center. A passenger had called 911 to report that a man was causing a disturbance on the train and was yelling racial and religious epithets.
Christian targeted the girls, one of whom was wearing a hijab, by saying, “Get the f*** out! Pay taxes! Go home, we need Americans here! I don’t care if you are ISIS.”
According to the probable cause affidavit, while on the MAX, Christian was drinking from a container that he later told investigators contained “sangria wine”.
At that point, a Good Samaritan was working to get Christian to calm down, but he turned his attention to Namkai Meche. The 23-year-old stood up, and Christian began yelling at him.
That’s reportedly when Fletcher became involved.
Christian started yelling “Do something!” to the 2 men. As he continued to yell, he shoved Fletcher in the chest, documents show.
Christian then pulled out a a 3 3/4 inch folded knife from his pocket, but kept it hidden in his hand. Surveillance video shows Fletcher pushing Christian, who stumbled. Christian still had the knife concealed in his hand.
Christian reportedly stood up and said, “Hit me again.” Fletcher continued to urge Christian to get off the MAX.
Without warning, Christian swung his right hand in one motion, opened the blade, and stabbed Fletcher in the neck. He then turned to Namkai Meche and stabbed him repeatedly. Video shows Best trying to intervene, which is when he was also stabbed.
As he got off the train at the Hollywood Transit Center, Christian grabbed a bag one of the teenage girls had dropped. He tossed it onto the freeway as he ran away.
Christian fled the area, but witnesses followed him and were able to give police directions to his location. Officers found him behind a parking structure at Providence Portland Medical Center, a couple of blocks away from the transit center.
He continued to yell racial and religious epithets as he was taken into custody.
“I just stabbed a bunch of motherf***ers in their neck,” Christian confessed to police officers. “Get stabbed in your neck if you hate free speech.”
Officers requested a specially-equipped patrol car be brought to transport Christian to the Portland Police Bureau’s Detective Division. Two officers were with Christian in the car as video and audio equipment recorded his ongoing rant.
“I can die in prison a happy man… I hope they all die,” he said in the patrol car. “I’m going to say that on that stand. I’m a patriot and I hope everyone I stabbed died.”
After being questioned by police, Christian was eventually booked into Multnomah County Detention Center on 2 counts of aggravated murder, 2 counts of second-degree intimidation, 3 counts of unlawful use of a weapon and one count each of attempted aggravated murder and first-degree assault.
The 3-time convicted felon told court staff during a pre-booking jail interview that he is a transient and doesn’t know the last time he had a permanent address. He also reported having no mental health problems, but records show his family had concerns about his mental state as far back as 2002.
“If you don’t like free speech, get the f*** out of my country,” Christian said during the pre-booking interview.
He was appointed 2 criminal defense attorneys from the Metropolitan Public Defenders. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf Tuesday. He appeared in court before Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Stephen K. Bushong.
During his brief appearance, he yelled out several things including, “Free speech or die, Portland. You got no safe place.”
“You call it terrorism, I call it patriotism. You hear me? Die,” he said as he stood in between 2 Multnomah County sheriff’s deputies. “Death to the enemies of America.”
The courtroom was completely full, and court staff ordered anyone who was not in a seat to leave. The front row was reserved for the victims’ family members. Fletcher, the surviving victim, was in court with family and members of the DA’s Office.
Due to a disruption outside the courtroom during the arraignment, Fletcher left through a locked door that is typically reserved for the judge and staff. The public and media were held inside the courtroom until corrections deputies were able to remove the person who was screaming.
Christian’s next court appearance is scheduled for June 7.
The Oregon Justice Resource Center issued a statement shortly after Christian’s arraignment, which read in part: “We at the Oregon Justice Resource Center believe we need to address the hate underlying Jeremy Christian’s alleged crimes but that pursuing the death penalty would do more harm to our community than good. We should always strive for fair, accountable, and evidence-based policies.”