Girl Targeted on Train Thanks Portland Heroes

Survivor posts poem from hospital bed
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2017 4:48 AM CDT
Portland Survivor: 'I Spat in the Eye of Hate and Lived'
A heart-shaped wreath covered with positive messages hangs on a traffic light pole at a memorial in Portland.   (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)

Oregon man Micah David-Cole Fletcher has written poems denouncing prejudice against Muslims and he truly walks it like he talks it: The 21-year-old university student came within millimeters of death in Portland on Friday when he tried to defend two girls from a man on a train shouting anti-Muslim abuse. Two other men were stabbed to death in the horrific incident but Fletcher survived a serious neck wound and posted a new poem on Facebook on Saturday, the Oregonian reports. "I am alive," it began. "I spat in the eye of hate and lived. This is what we must do for one another." Family members say the knife came within millimeters of his jugular and he was in surgery for more than two hours. In other developments:

  • One of the two teenagers targeted, 16-year-old Destinee Mangum, says she was on the train with a 17-year-old Muslim friend when Jeremy Joseph Christian started shouting abuse at them. She tells KPTV that after strangers defended them, an argument began and they ran away when Christian started stabbing people. She says she wants to thank the people who put their lives on the line for her. "I just want to say thank you to them and their family and that I appreciate them because without them, we probably would be dead right now," she says.

  • Fletcher's girlfriend, Miranda Helm, tells the Oregonian that he wants to meet another Good Samaritan who saved his life after the attack. She says the unidentified man rushed to Fletcher's side and applied a cloth to the wound. She says the man called Fletcher's mother to tell her he had been injured and tried to reassure her, telling her he was a veteran and familiar with first aid. A friend has started a GoFundMe campaign to cover Fletcher's medical bills.
  • Christian, a 35-year-old white nationalist, is in custody on suspicion of crimes including the murders of Ricky John Best, 53, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23. KGW reports that police say he was involved in an altercation at a train station the day before the murders. A source tells the station that Christian threw a bottle of Gatorade at a black woman, who responded by spraying him with Mace. He is due to make his first court appearance Tuesday.
  • BuzzFeed reports that an open letter from Dan Rather to President Trump about the attack is being widely shared. In the letter, Rather urges Trump to address the incident and honor those who lost their lives."They were brave Americans who died at the hands of someone who, when all the facts are collected, we may have every right to call a terrorist," Rather writes.
  • Muslim leaders in Portland have thanked the heroes for supporting the young women and started a fundraising campaign for the victims and their families, the AP reports. By early Monday, it had raised more than $335,000.
  • The Guardian reports that organizers of an alt-right "free speech" rally in Portland on June 4 have refused to cancel the event. Christian was filmed shouting racial slurs at a similar rally in April, but organizer Joey Gibson says he is not a racist and Christian has nothing to do with his Patriot Prayer movement. "He's not even a Trump supporter," Gibson says. "He showed up at our march out of nowhere."
(More hate crime stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.