Immediately upon entering the Multnomah County Justice Center Courthouse in Oregon for his arraignment on Tuesday, Jeremy Christian loudly interrupted the ongoing proceedings from inside his holding chamber, as two officers flanked him.
Christian, 35, whose full legal name is Jeremiah Joseph Christian, was charged with two counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of second-degree intimidation and one count of being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon, according to CNN.
“Free speech or die, Portland,” he said. “You got no safe place. This is America. Get out if you don’t like free speech.”
Then the public defender spoke to the judge, and Christian signed some documents. Just before Christian was walked out of the courtroom, he tried another outburst.
“Death to the enemies of America! Leave this country if you hate our freedom. Death to Antifa. You call it terrorism, I call it patriotism, you hear me? Die!” he yelled.
Last Friday, Christian allegedly stabbed two men to death and injured another man badly aboard a Portland metro train. Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, and Ricky John Best, 53, died after confronting Christian for allegedly harassing a black 16-year-old girl and her Muslim friend wearing a hijab. Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, also got involved and was stabbed in the neck, but was released late Monday night and attended the Tuesday court hearing, KOIN reported.
Christian is white, and court documents report him to be 6 foot 3 inches and 250 pounds.
Police records show he yelled racial and religious epithets last Friday.
Court documents from Tuesday said Christian “reports he is transient and does not know the last time he had a permanent address,” according to CNN.
His next court date is June 7, and a Multnomah County grand jury will determine whether to bring more charges. In Oregon, aggravated murder is punishable by execution, but the state has not carried out one in more than two decades, CNN reported.
The violent attacks in Portland on Friday are unacceptable. The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Our prayers are w/ them.
— President Trump (@POTUS) May 29, 2017
On Monday, President Donald Trump tweeted, “The violent attacks in Portland on Friday are unacceptable. The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Our prayers are w/ them.”
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler expressed appreciation for Trump’s words, but said they didn’t go far enough, KATU reported. The mayor called for the cancellation of a pre-scheduled “Trump Free Speech Rally” planned for next weekend, saying the event would be inappropriate and warning it may pose a risk to public safety.
“I hope we rise to the memory of these two gentlemen who lost their lives,” Wheeler said. “Let’s do them honor by standing with them and carrying on their legacy of standing up to hate and bigotry and violence.”
Christian reportedly was convicted in 2002 on state charges of robbery, kidnapping and unlawful use of a dangerous weapon, and then in 2011 on federal charges of felon in possession of a firearm. In the 2002 case, he was shot in the head by police as he fled the scene of the crime, CNN reported. A prosecutor’s affidavit reportedly said that Christian explained he robbed a convenience store, because it “doesn’t sell any winning lottery tickets.”
— RT America (@RT_America) May 29, 2017