Sunday, May 28, 2017
These three men stood up to hate in Portland (sad music playing) #CNN
(CNN) Dozens of people gathered on Saturday around a circle of flowers and photos to honor a recent college graduate and an Army veteran who were fatally stabbed on a Portland commuter train.
The two men were killed after they intervened when a man allegedly yelled what "would best be characterized as hate speech toward a variety of ethnicities and religions" at two women on a Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) light-rail train, Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson said.
The victims' families, friends and Portland residents gathered Saturday at a nearby grassy area. They shared a few words about their loved ones while others praised their courage.
A man with a bright future
Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche will be remembered as a hero by his family and many in Portland.
The 23-year-old was just starting his career. He was a compassionate young man with many plans, his sister said at Saturday's vigil.
After graduating from Portland's Reed College with a degree in economics last year, he began working at an environmental consulting agency. He had just bought a house and dreamed of getting married and having children in the future.
"He was a hero and will remain a hero on the other side of the veil. Shining bright star I love you forever," his mother Asha Deliverance, posted on Facebook.
An Army veteran, a father
Rick Best always worked hard, tried to help those around him and seemed to have a heart for public service.
After 23 years with the military, he joined his family in Portland's suburb of Happy Valley. First, he became an electronics repairman and loved it because he could spend time with his children.
"He was a devoted husband who talked often of his family. He was a model public servant," said David Austin, spokesman for Portland commissioner Chloe Eudaly.
The Poet.. Third victim in 'really bad condition'
Micah Fletcher, 21, is being treated in a hospital with serious injuries. His mother, Margie Fletcher, told CNN affiliate KATU that the knife missed his jugular by 1 millimeter. The station tweeted photos of Micah and Margie Fletcher.
"He's in really bad condition," she said. "I'm proud of him for standing up. I'm grateful that he's here. It's hard for me to say I want people to stand up, but two girls might be alive because of them."
She said her son has intervened for others before.
"Micah's always done that," Margie Fletcher said. "I've always worried about it."
The Oregonian reported Micah Fletcher was taking the train to his job at a pizza shop.
He won a 2013 poetry competition with a poem against anti-Muslim prejudice, the newspaper said.
Surviving victim of Friday train stabbing a poet and PSU student
One of the men who came to the defense of a teenager wearing a hijab on a MAX train Friday won a 2013 poetry competition with a poem condemning prejudices faced by Muslims.
Micah David-Cole Fletcher was injured in the attack after he and two other men approached suspect Jeremy Christian, who was allegedly yelling racial slurs at two young women, one of whom is Muslim.
Christian is suspected of stabbing all three of them, killing Rick Best, 53, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, and injuring Fletcher. Fletcher, now 21, was a Madison high school student when he won the poetry contest.
When his girlfriend, parents and brother got to the emergency room late Friday, Fletcher said he was doing OK.
"How are you guys?" he asked, according to his girlfriend Miranda Helm. His blood-soaked jeans, T-shirt and black tennis shoes were in the room in an evidence bag.
The 21-year-old was taking the train to his job at a pizza shop from classes at Portland State University. The suspect hit Fletcher once on the left side with the knife. It punctured his neck and was millimeters away from his jugular, Helm said doctors told her and the family.
He required surgery, which lasted about two hours, she said. Surgeons who operated on him had to remove bone fragments from his throat, she said.
At first, Fletcher refused painkillers. He had seen people become addicted, Helm said, and didn't want that to happen to him. But his family's pleas and the growing pain made him change his mind, Helm said.
"'This is the most exquisite pain I have ever felt,'" Fletcher told her.
The young man's family could not be reached.
Last Memorial Day weekend, Fletcher and other poets part of Spit/WRITE, a youth poetry group, were reading poems about social justice on a MAX train. The purpose was to give them the space to call attention to social justice issues, one of his poetry mentors, S. Renee Mitchell, said.