Destinee Mangum, one of the targets of hate speech on a MAX train, thanks strangers for saving her life. pic.twitter.com/sefmOAyIVt
— FOX 12 Oregon KPTV (@fox12oregon) May 28, 2017
One of the teenage girls caught in the middle of the anti-Muslim train stabbing in Portland issued a personal and heartfelt thanks over the weekend to the two passengers who died protecting her.
“They lost their lives because of me and my friend, and the way we look,” Destinee Mangum, 16, told Fox 12 Oregon on Saturday.
“I just want to say thank you to them and their family, and that I appreciate them,” the teen explained. “Without them, we probably would be dead right now.”
Magnum, who is black, had been with a 17-year-old friend who is Muslim and was wearing a hijab when Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, of Portland, began berating them aboard a MAX train early Friday night.
“He told us to go back to Saudi Arabia and he told us we shouldn’t be here, to get out of his country,” Mangum recalled. “He was just telling us that we basically weren’t anything and that we should kill ourselves.”
Three men wound up intervening — including Ricky Best, 53, and Taliesin Namkai-Meche, 23, both of whom were killed. Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, was injured but expected to survive.
“This white male from the back of us was like, ‘He’s talking to you guys? You guys can’t disrespect these young ladies like that,’” Mangum remembered. “Then they just all started arguing.”
Punches were thrown moments later, the teen said — and that’s when things turned deadly.
“We turned around while they were fighting and he just started stabbing people and it was just blood everywhere,” Magnum told Fox. “We just started running for our lives.”
Christian, a proud white supremacist, was later arrested and charged with aggravated murder.
None of his three victims had known each other, or the teens, before the attack unfolded last Friday.
“I just want to say thank you to the people who put their life on the line for me,” Magnum said. “They didn’t even know me.”