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Saturday, 27 May 2017

Two Men Killed On Portland Train After Trying To Stop Anti-Muslim Rant, Police Say

A 35-year-old man has been arrested over the stabbing deaths of two men on a commuter train in Portland, Oregon.

Jeremy Joseph Christian, of North Portland, allegedly killed the pair on a MAX train at the Hollywood Transit Station at 4:30 p.m. Friday after they tried to stop him from harassing two women because they appeared to be Muslim.

Three men intervened “in the midst of his ranting and raving,” Portland police spokesman Pete Simpson said during a news conference. “They were attacked viciously by the suspect.”

“He said, ‘Get off the bus, and get out of the country because you don’t pay taxes here,’” Evelin Hernandez, a passenger on the train, told KATU-TV.

Officers detained Christian soon after he got off the train. The women, however, left the scene before they could be interviewed.

Police booked Christian into the Multnomah County Jail early Saturday morning on two charges of aggravated murder, two counts of intimidation in the second degree, one count of attempted murder and one count of being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon.

According to OregonLive, he has previously been convicted for felony robbery, kidnapping and possession of weapons. He will be arraigned in Multnomah County Court on Monday, and may face additional charges.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations responded to the attack by saying that anti-Muslim incidents increased by more than 50 percent in the United States from 2015 to 2016 due in part to President Donald Trump’s focus on militant Islamist groups and anti-immigrant rhetoric.

“President Trump must speak out personally against the rising tide of Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry and racism in our nation that he has provoked through his numerous statements, policies and appointments that have negatively impacted minority communities,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.
The administration says that while it strongly opposes Islamist militants, it has no quarrel with Islam.

Following the attack, police said one of the men died at the scene while another died at a hospital. The third man was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Police said the Oregon State Medical Examiner would conduct autopsies on the two men on Saturday morning, and would release the names of the three victims soon after.

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