Saturday, May 27, 2017

These Are The Victims Of The Portland Train Stabbing Attack
Ricky Best, 53, and Taliesin Namkai-Meche, 23 were killed when they tried to stop a man hurling abuse at two women of Muslim appearance, police said. Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, was injured but expected to survive.

May 27, 2017, at 9:31 p.m.
By Julia Reinstein & Salvador Hernandez
BuzzFeed Reporters

Two men were stabbed to death and another man was injured, on a commuter train in Portland, Oregon, Friday night, after they tried to intervene as a man shouted hate speech at two young women who appeared to be Muslim.

On Saturday, police identified Ricky John Best, 53, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, as the victims who were killed in the attack.

Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, was identified as the third passenger who was stabbed but survived. He is currently being treated at a hospital for serious injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening.

A 35-year-old white supremacist, Jeremy Christian, has been charged with two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of second-degree intimidation, and being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon.

Namkai-Meche graduated from Portland's Reed College in 2016 with a degree in economics. He was interning for the Cadmus Group, a consulting company, at the time of his death.

His sister, Vajra Alaya-Maitreya, told BuzzFeed News that Namkai-Meche "lived a joyous and full life" and that "his enthusiasm was infectious."

"We lost him in a senseless act that brought close to home the insidious rift of prejudice and intolerance that is too familiar, too common," said Alaya-Maitreya. "He was resolute in his conduct and respect of all people. In his final act of bravery, he held true to what he believed is the way forward."

"He will live in our hearts forever as the just, brave, loving, hilarious, and beautiful soul he was," said Alaya-Maitreya. "We ask that in honor of his memory, we use this tragedy as an opportunity for reflection and change. We choose love.

"Safe journey, Taliesin. We love you."

Namkai-Meche's mother, Asha Deliverance, first announced that he was one of the victims in a Facebook post Saturday.

"Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, My dear baby boy passed on yesterday while protecting two young Muslim girls from a racist man on the train in Portland," she wrote. "He was a hero and will remain a hero on the other side of the veil. Shining bright star I love you forever."

Ellie Lawrence, Namkai-Meche's girlfriend, told BuzzFeed News that her boyfriend was the "kindest, purest, most amazing person" she'd ever met.

"I will follow you on your journey through the sun and the moon and the stars. I will love you eternally," she wrote on Facebook, sharing a photo of the two of them.

The family will hold a vigil for Namkai-Meche Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. in Portland, near the station where he died.

Best was a city employee, army veteran, and father of four, according to The Oregonian.

He served 23 years in the military as a platoon sergeant for Corps maintenance, retiring in 2012.

In 2014, he made an unsuccessful attempt to run for Clackamas County commissioner.

“I can’t stand by and do nothing,” Best said of his decision to run for local politics, according to The Oregonian's profile on his candidacy.

At the time of his death, he was working as supervisor in Portland's Bureau of Development Services.

Best was lifelong Oregon resident and was heading home to his three teenage sons and 12-year-old daughter in Happy Valley when he was killed.

Micah David-Cole Fletcher was also stabbed in the attack but is expected to survive. As of Saturday evening, he was being treated for serious injuries.

Friends of the 21-year-old told BuzzFeed News that although they were shocked to learn their friend was injured in the attack, they were not surprised he stepped in to stand up for someone else.

"I was shocked it was him, but I wasn't surprised it was him," Elie Hoover, 24, said. "I can't see him not standing up."

Hoover said Fletcher is "deeply empathetic" and is often defending others against transgressions, small and large.

"Whether its someone cutting in line, or doesn't tip, or if its something big like someone being overtly racist," she said.

Mandela Cordeta, 26, said he's known Fletcher for about 10 years after meeting at an arts camp. Since then, she said, Fletcher has been deeply involved in poetry and music, and currently plays the drums.

Recently, friends said Fletcher had also become very active in marches and protests around Portland, becoming active against what he views as social injustices.

"If there's a march or protest happening, he's the one calling me to see where I'm at," Cordeta said. "He's always showing up."

"He's just against injustice, that's his personality," Cordeta added.

At least two GoFundMe campaigns have been set up to assist all three victims' families with costs related to their deaths and injuries. The Bilal Mosque, in Beaverton, Oregon, has also set up a fund for the victims' families.

Julia Reinstein is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Julia Reinstein at

Salvador Hernandez is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Salvador Hernandez at

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