Homicide

Portland stabbings: Suspect bragged about attack in patrol car, police say

The man accused of stabbing two men to death on a train following an anti-Muslim tirade and scuffle shouted "You call it terrorism! I call it patriotism!" during his first court appearance since the deadly Friday episode in Portland.

Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, also yelled "Death to the enemies of America" as he was being charged Tuesday with the two killings and the wounding of a third man. Christian didn't enter a plea and has another court date set on June 7.

As he sat in the back of a police patrol car, court documents say Christian lamented "That's what liberalism gets you."

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.

The document describes a chaotic scene.

Christian was allegedly drinking sangria from a large, bladder-style bag and began shouting anti-Muslim slurs once he spotted two young women on the train.

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, and 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.

Patriot Prayer group leader Joey Gibson said Christian had shown up at a rally on April 29 with a baseball bat and had made the Nazi salute. But Gibson said Christian hurled insults at rally organizers as well as counter-protesters.

"He came yelling at everyone, cussing at everyone. He threatened me and tons of people," Gibson said.

Christian's defense attorney, Gregory Scholls, did not return a call for comment after the hearing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.