A man suspected of stabbing two people to death and injuring another at an Oregon train station Friday was involved in two separate train-station incidents a day before his alleged attack, police said.
A Portland police spokesman told KGW-TV on Sunday Jeremy Joseph Christian hurled a Gatorade bottle at a black woman Thursday night in the Interstate Rose Quarter Station. The woman then sprayed mace at Christian.
Another woman told KOIN 6 she recorded Christian ranting about Muslims and Christians on a train at Pioneer Courthouse Square. The woman, who asked to be identified as KK, said he was visibly upset.
“He was pretty upset, squinting his eyes, venting to his friend on the phone about some girl that just pepper-sprayed him,” the woman said. “He was complaining about the city, complaining about Muslims, Christians, and it just got very violent very quick.”
The woman added that the passengers were scared and Christian was talking about “wanting to stab somebody.” Police confirmed to the station that the man seen ranting in the video was Christian.
Christian was in custody on suspicion of two counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of intimidation and one count of being a felon in possession of a weapon in the stabbing deaths of Ricky John Best, 53, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23.
Police said the men were standing up for two women who Christian was hurling racist slurs at them. One of the young women was black and the other was wearing a hijab, witnesses said.
Court records show Christian served prison time for first-degree robbery and second-degree kidnapping after a crime committed 15 years ago and theft and weapons charges were dismissed in 2010.
The Portland Mercury, one of the city's alternative weeklies, posted an article on its website saying Christian showed up at a free speech march in late April with a baseball bat to confront protesters and the bat was confiscated by police.
The article included video clips of a man wearing a metal chain around his neck and draped in an American flag shouting "I'm a nihilist! This is my safe place!" as protesters crowd around him.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.