Police have identified the assailant as Jeremy Joseph Christian
Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, is a convicted felon who is accused of stabbing to death three men after they tried to stop him racially abusing two women of Muslim appearance.
He started shouting ethnic and religious slurs, apparently at the two young women, one of whom wore a Muslim head-covering, the Portland Police Department said in a statement.
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The mother of one of the women, Dyjuana Hudson, relaying an account her daughter had given her, said: “He was saying that Muslims should die.”
Ricky John Best, 53, died at the scene, while Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, died at a hospital.
A third victim, Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, remained in a local hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
The stabbings took place in Portland
The month of Ramadan
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Muslims mark the holy month of Ramadan with fasting and prayer.
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Indonesian Muslims offering prayers on the third night of the holy month of Ramadan at the Istiqlal grand mosque in Jakarta
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Christian was arrested soon after the attack on Friday afternoon.
Christian had no known affiliation with a criminal gang member nor any mental health history, police said.
Police have declined to release details of Christian's criminal history.
The attack took place hours before the start of Ramadan
The Oregonian newspaper, however, has reported that he had been convicted of robbery, kidnapping and weapon charges, citing court records.
The attack took place hours before the start of Ramadan, Islam’s holy month, when most of the world’s Muslims observe a daily religious fast.
Christian was arrested on suspicion of two counts of aggravated murder and charges of attempted murder, intimidation and being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon.