Portland attack: $600,000 raised for ‘heroes’ killed defending Muslim teen

A picture of Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche

More than $600,000 (£468,000) has been raised for the families of the three US men attacked while defending a Muslim teenager and her friend on a train.

Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and Ricky John Best were killed and Micah David-Cole Fletcher was severely injured in Portland, Oregon on Friday.

They all intervened after a man launched into a verbal tirade against the teens, one wearing a hijab.

The suspect, Jeremy Joseph Christian, was later arrested.

The 35-year-old is due to appear in court on Tuesday, charged with two counts of aggravated murder, attempted murder, intimidation and being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon.

The FBI said it was still unsure if Mr Christian – who allegedly said “all Muslims should die” during the attack – will face charges for hate crime.

  • Man who died defending Muslim ‘a hero’

Meanwhile, Mr Fletcher continues to recover after sustaining a knife wound to his neck that his mother said was “a millimetre” from his jugular vein.

He posted a picture from his hospital bed, alongside a poem on Saturday evening. One of the lines said: “I spat in the eye of hate and lived.”

Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, of North Portland, Oregon is pictured in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters May 27, 2017Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionPolice distributed an image of Jeremy Jospeh Christian after his arrest

The three men have been hailed as “heroes” in their local community, not least by Destinee Mangum – the 16-year-old who was travelling with her friend, 17, when the attack took place.

“I just want to say thank you to the people who put their life on the line for me, because they didn’t even know me and they lost their lives because of me and my friend and the way we look,” she told local channel KPTV.

Close to 1,000 people gathered for a vigil in memory of Mr Namkai-Meche, 23, a recent college graduate, and 53-year-old army veteran Mr Best, a father-of-four, on Saturday evening.

There have also been numerous tributes online to the men.

A tweet with a picture of Ricky Best, killed on a Portland train attackImage copyrightTWITTER/@LSARSOUR

Tributes have been paid to the men by the city’s mayor, as well as Oregon governor Kate Brown and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who described their deaths as “heartbreaking”.

“No one should have to endure this racist abuse,” she wrote on Twitter. “No one should have to give their life to stop it.”

US President Donald Trump has yet to mention the attack.

A tweet by a reporter with the Oregonian newspaper, asking Mr Trump if he had any comment on the attack, has been ‘liked’ more than 4,000 times.

And veteran journalist Dan Rather wrote an open letter to Mr Trump, which has been shared more than 100,000 times on Facebook, imploring the president to speak out about their deaths.

Mr Rather said: “Two Americans have died leaving family and friends behind.

“They are mourned by millions more who are also deeply worried about what might come next. I hope you can find it worthy of your time to take notice.”