Portland deaths: Son who died trying to stop Muslim abuse ‘a hero’

International News

The mother of a US man who died protecting two young women from anti-Muslim harassment has called him “a hero” who “will remain a hero” after his death.

Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche was one of two men who were stabbed to death on a train on Friday in Portland, Oregon.

Another passenger was wounded before the attacker was arrested.

Police have identified the suspect as Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, a convicted felon.

Reports in Oregon named the other man who died as Ricky John Best, 53, a father of four and an Army veteran.

A senior researcher with the Southern Poverty Law Center, a hate-attack monitoring group, said Mr Christian’s Facebook page said he held “some racist and other extremist beliefs”.

An article in a Portland local alternative publication reported that he was a “known white supremacist” who had previously given a Nazi salute at a right-wing march.

The police have declined to share details of his criminal history.

Mr Christian has been charged with offences including aggravated murder, attempted murder, intimidation and being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon.

“Suspect was on the train and he was yelling and ranting and raving a lot of different things, including what would be characterised as hate speech or biased language,” said Sergeant Pete Simpson.

“In the midst of his ranting and raving, some people approached him, appeared to try to intervene with his behaviour.

“Some of the people that he was yelling at, they were attacked viciously by the suspect, resulting in the two deaths and one injury.”

Mr Namkai-Meche’s mother wrote on Facebook: “My dear baby boy passed on yesterday while protecting two young Muslim girls from a racist man on the train in Portland.

“He was a hero and will remain a hero on the other side of the veil.

“Shining bright star I love you forever.”

Mr Christian was arrested shortly after he got off the train. The two women he was abusing – one of whom was said by eyewitnesses to have been wearing a headscarf – left the scene before police could speak to them.

However one of the girls’ parents later told the Oregonian newspaper that they were teenagers.

Dyjuana Hudson said the attacker “was saying that Muslims should die”.

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