Third stabbing victim in MAX hate crime identified as PSU student, expected to recover

1231
Community and family members of Hollywood Transit Center stabbing victims gathered at a Saturday night vigil. Photo courtesy of Jaime Dunkle

The third victim in yesterday’s stabbing incident at the Hollywood Transit Center has been identified as Portland State music student Micah David-Cole Fletcher, age 21. Fletcher’s injuries are not life threatening and he is expected to recover.

Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, was arrested by Portland Police yesterday after he reportedly launched hateful slurs on the MAX train toward two young women, one of whom was black and the other wearing a hijab. According to witnesses, Christian stabbed the three men who came to the defense of the young women.

Christian’s two other victims, who did not survive, have been identified as Ricky John Best, 53, of Happy Valley and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, of Southeast Portland.

Matthew Andrews, Fletcher’s classmate in the school of music said his heroic display is exactly what he would expect from him.

“Micah impressed me from the moment I met him,” Andrews said. “He’s wise beyond his years about social injustice and unapologetically vocal about it, a gifted and enthusiastic musician, and absolutely fearless. I’m shocked but not surprised, because standing up to bullies and defending his fellow humans is exactly what he’s all about.”

Community members gathered at Hollywood Transit Center on Saturday evening for a vigil to honor the victims.

Christian was booked early Saturday morning on suspicion of aggravated murder and attempted murder.

Christian has been identified as a known white supremacist and was seen at a pro-Trump rally in late April yelling racial slurs and displaying Nazi salutes.

A source who preferred to be unnamed said they knew Christian through a former significant other. “They were close,” the source said. “Christian had just gotten out of prison, and I did not trust him, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. He ate at my dinner table…he did have racist views that I argued against.”

“I hate to say it, but I’m not surprised he’s now the suspect of the recent Hollywood Transit murders,” the source said. “He definitely seemed capable of violent behavior.”

Campus Public Safety Office Chief Phillip Zerzan said the university is still responding and the CARE team is conducting outreach.

Zerzan said he admired the actions of the victims involved and expressed condolences for their loved ones.

“There’s an inherent risk in confronting dangerous violent persons filled with hate,” Zerzan said. “People intuitively know that risk, and I think it’s heroic that members of the Portland community stood up. Unfortunately, it cost them dearly and it’s a tragedy.”

Zerzan added that anyone who feels threatened or targeted by others and unsafe should seek help.

“If people feel threatened or if they’re put in a threatening situation, they should seek help,” he said. “That could be from the police or from other community members. The community has their back.”

Zerzan said there’s been an increase in racially-charged activity on the PSU campus since November, though it’s unclear whether this is an increase in actual activity or reporting.

Yesterday, just after 6 p.m. two men drove down SW Broadway through the PSU campus in a blue pickup truck shouting, “White Power,” and flashing Nazi salutes to passersby. The Vanguard has reported swastika graffiti in bathrooms, and a white supremacist group posted recruiting posters on campus in March.

“Perhaps some members of the community feel emboldened,” Zerzan said.

“My office doesn’t want anyone to be or feel unsafe,” Zerzan continued. “We will walk students across campus and will respond to concerns.” He encouraged anyone who witnesses alarming or suspicious activity on campus to report to the CPS office and seek assistance.

In addition to the CPS office, PSU has several resources for students who feel unsafe or affected by these events.

A statement released by the PSU Office of Communications on Saturday evening read, “The CARE team helps students connect with campus and community resources in times of trauma or distress and works with them to offer personal, academic and other accommodations and support. PSU also has connected with his classmates and faculty in the School of Music to support them with counseling and other assistance through the campus Center for Health and Counseling.”

Students may also access resource centers on campus and the PSU Office of Global Diversity & Inclusion.

A GoFundMe campaign started in Fletcher’s honor has raised $22,000 at the time of reporting. Another campaign for the families of the victims killed has raised over $100,000 at the time of reporting.

Those who need immediate support can call the after-hours and weekends Multnomah County Crisis Line: 503.988.4888.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here