The 35-year-old suspect in the knife attack that left two people dead and allegedly involved hate speech appeared to defend his actions during a brief court appearance on Tuesday.
Jeremy Joseph Christian of North Portland was charged with two counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted aggravated murder, first-degree assault, three counts of unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of second-degree intimidation, according to the initial charging document filed in court by the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office.
Christian shouted, “Free speech or die” and “You call it terrorism, I call it patriotism” to the crowd and continued to yell as he was escorted out of the courtroom.
Micah Fletcher, the survivor of a Portland, Oregon, was in the courtroom when Christian made the statements. Fletcher issued a statement honoring the two people who died and offering support to the city’s Muslims.
“I want the Muslim community to know that they have a home here in Portland and are loved,” Fletcher said in the statement. “I want to honor the families who lost their brave fathers, sons and brothers, and I want the media and the country to honor those families. I want to send my condolences and honor those families.”
On Friday around 4:19 p.m., the two juvenile females were already on the train when Christian boarded the Green Line TriMet MAX toward the Clackamas Town Center at the Rose Quarter stop, Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Ryan Lufkin said in a probable cause affidavit. The court documents described one of the females as African-American and the other, who was wearing traditional Muslim dress, as African-American Muslim.
Shortly after boarding the train, Christian allegedly “began shouting statements seemingly targeted at the girls.” Christian also could be “seen taking large drinks from a bladder style container of purple liquid,” which authorities later identified to be sangria, according to the affidavit.
A nearby male witness, who…