A man fatally stabbed two men on a commuter train in Portland, Oregon, on Friday afternoon as they confronted him for screaming a series of anti-Muslim slurs at a group of women.
According to CNN, Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, was on a Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) light-rail train when he started yelling what “would best be characterized as hate speech toward a variety of ethnicities and religions,” police said in news release. It’s believed that Christian was initially harassing two women who may have been Muslim, with one hearing a hijab.
As two fellow passengers tried to calm Christian down, he took out a knife and stabbed both of them. One man died on the scene; the other in the hospital. A third passenger was also stabbed, but is expected to survive.
The Associated Press reported that the Portland police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson stressed that this was tragic case of Good Samaritan gone wrong.
“These were folks just riding the train and unfortunately got caught up in this,” he said.
Christian was charged with charged with two counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of second-degree intimidation and felony possession of a restricted weapon.
“We don’t know if he’s got mental health issues,” Simpson said. “We don’t know if he’s under the influence of drugs or alcohol or all of the above.”
Authorities are still investigating and have yet to find and interview the women Christian was screaming at. Simpson stressed that the two “understandably” left the scene in shock before police could take their statements.
The stabbings happened at the beginning of Ramadan, a monthlong Muslim holy period of prayer, fasting and charity.
Muslim blaming the Trump administration’s xenophobic rhetoric and blocked Muslim ban for the increase of anti-Muslim sentiment and violence in the U.S.
“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,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad told CNN.
The White House has yet to make a public statement on the murders.