PORTLAND, Oregon - A man has been arrested in Portland in connection with stabbings on the Hollywood Transit Center that left two people dead and one injured. Commuters attempted to calm the suspect who was yelling what police said "would best be characterized as hate speech."
Jeremy Joseph Christian of N Portland is facing two counts of aggravated murder, attempted murder, two counts of intimidation and felon in possession of a restricted weapon. He is being held without bail at the Multnomah County Jail on charges of aggravated murder, attempted murder, intimidation in the second degree and felon in possession of a restricted weapon. Christian, 35, will be arraigned Monday at the Multnomah County Courthouse, according to the Portland Police Bureau.
Police said multiple officers responded to a report of a disturbance on the eastbound light-rail train involving a man who stabbed two people on Friday around 4:30 p.m. local time. While en route to the scene, officers learned that the suspect had exited the train and was fleeing the area on foot toward a hospital, police said.
Upon arriving at the station where the train had stopped, officers found three stabbing victims and immediately began administering treatment on site until medical personnel arrived, police said.
One of the victims, an adult male, died at the scene. The other two victims were transported to a hospital in Portland, where one was pronounced dead and the other was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
The Oregon State Medical Examiner is scheduled to conduct autopsies on the two deceased victims late Saturday morning. After the autopsies, police said the identities of all three victims will be released.
Officers eventually located the suspect and placed him in custody. Christian received medical treatment and was put in the custody of homicide detectives, police said.
A preliminary investigation indicates that Christian was on the train "yelling various remarks that would best be characterized as hate speech toward a variety of ethnicity and religions, the Portland Police Bureau said in a statement.
At least two of the stabbing victims tried to intervene and calm him down. The suspect then attacked the men, stabbing three, before leaving the train, police said.
Police said witnesses described two young women, "possibly Muslim," who were on the train at the time but left before officers arrived on scene. The young women have not yet been identified but the witnesses described one as wearing a hijab, police said. Detectives are looking to speak with them.
A man who appears to be Jeremy Christian attended a rally on 82nd Avenue in Portland several weeks ago, where he was spotted giving what looked like the Nazi salute, while hurling various insults at protesters.
Police say Christian was yelling hateful statements at two girls, one of whom was wearing a hijab, aboard a MAX train approaching the Hollywood Transit Center around 4:30 p.m. Friday. His speech was not specifically anti-Muslim and his behavior was erratic, Portland Police Bureau Sgt. Pete Simpson said.
Two men came to the women's defense, and were then stabbed to death by Christian, police say. "So many people ran, but so many people didn't run, and (they) were there for these people. And one of them had taken their shirt off and had pressed against his neck. But there was like, there was so much blood," witness Chase Robinson said.
A third person was stabbed as well, but is expected to survive.
The investigation is ongoing.