The Portland train attack suspect spent his first appearance in court spouting off nonsensically about free speech and being a national hero — yelling, “You call it terrorism, I call it patriotism.”
“Death to the enemies of America,” shouted Jeremy Christian, who is accused of fatally stabbing two men and injuring another aboard a MAX train last Friday.
“Leave this country if you hate our freedom,” he said Tuesday, towards the end of his arraignment.
“Death to Antifa.”
Christian, who is from Oregon, had been hurling racial slurs at two teenage girls — one of whom was Muslim — just before allegedly killing his victims, Ricky John Best, 53, of Happy Valley, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, of Portland.
He also stabbed another man, Micah Fletcher, 32, after he and the two others confronted him about what he was saying. Fletcher lived, though, and is expected to make a full recovery.
Christian had been referring to the ant-fascist movement and First Amendment during his rant in court Tuesday. The word “Antifa” that he mentioned is typically used to describe people within this movement who are against nationalism and free speech.
“Free speech or die, Portland. You got no safe place,” Christian said, just moments after entering the courtroom.
“This is America,” he added. “Get out if you don’t like free speech.”
Christian is facing multiple charges for the alleged stabbing, including murder, and investigators are reportedly looking into his extremist ideologies.
A group of about 20 people or so gathered outside the courtroom Tuesday and could be heard yelling things like “bigot” and “murderer” throughout the proceedings.
A probable cause affidavit, obtained by The Portland Mercury, described how Christian’s only surviving victim, Fletcher, recalled the traumatic event to police.
“Mr. Christian was yelling racial and religious epithets and threatened to decapitate people thereby causing serious physical harm,” the document said.
The account is the first complete version of events to be released by Fletcher.
In addition to the affidavit, records were also released Tuesday pertaining to Christian’s living status. He is reportedly homeless and has no job, but it’s unclear if he has any mental issues.
His next court date is scheduled for June 7.