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Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche
and Ricky John Best
*On this date in 2017, two white men were killed and another injured on a public light rail transit after they intervened when another white man yelled hate speech toward ethnicities and religions of color at two black women.
This happened on a Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) light-rail train in Portland, Oregon. The murder suspect, Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, was arrested on aggravated murder charges. Federal authorities are trying to determine whether Christian will face hate crimes charges as a memorial with flowers and notes for the victims grew across from the train station where one of the men died.
One of the men murdered was Ricky John Best, 53, of Happy Valley, Oregon. He was an employee of Portland, an Army veteran, and a father of four children. He had run for office in 2014, refusing to take campaign contributions from corporations. The other victim was Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, of Portland. He was a recent graduate in economics from Reed College and had taken an introductory class on Islam.
The man who survived was Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, the third stabbing victim, survived and was taken a hospital with non-life-threatening wounds. In 2013, Fletcher won a poetry contest while he was a junior in high school by writing a poem about Islamophobia in America. One of the two girls originally harassed was later identified as Destinee Mangum, 16, who expressed gratitude to the three men who stepped in to help her.