Portland train teenager thanks men who came to her aid: ‘They lost their lives because of me and my friend’

Police have said the incident could be domestic terrorism

Target of Portland killer’s hate speech thanks heroes who gave their lives

She could barely get the words out.

But Destinee Mangum wanted to thank the three men who came to her help when she and a friend allegedly suffered racist abuse on a train in Portland, Oregon. All three of the men were stabbed, purportedly by Jeremy Christian, said to be a white supremacist. Two of them died. One remains in hospital being treated for his injuries.

“I just want to say thank you to the people who put their life on the line for me,” the 16-year-old told KPTV. “Because they didn’t even know me, and they lost their lives because of me and my friend and the way we look.”

The teenager had been on the train last Friday when she and a friend were said to be been insulted by Mr Christian. One of the women was wearing an hijab.

“He told us to go back to Saudi Arabia and he told us we shouldn’t be here, to get out of his country,” said the young woman. “He was just telling us that we basically weren’t anything and that we should just kill ourselves.”

Three men intervened. Army veteran Ricky John Best, 53, and college graduate Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, were killed, while the third, poet Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, suffered a knife wound to the neck.

Portland attack suspect Jeremy Christian at a 'free speech rally' making a Nazi salute

The young woman said that after they were abused, they moved to another part of the train and were preparing to get off at the next station. It was at that point, the three men stepped in, with one of them saying you “can’t disrespect these young ladies like that”.

“Then they just all started arguing,” said the teenager. “Me and my friend were going to get off the MAX and then we turned around while they were fighting and he just started stabbing people. It was just blood everywhere and we just started running for our lives.”

Several passengers chased after the suspect and called 911, directing officers to his were he was.

“It’s haunting me,” she said. “And 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.”

The teenager’s mother also offered her thanks to the three man who went to the help of her daughter and her friend.

“I want to say thank you so much,” said Dyjuana Hudson. “I couldn’t imagine what you’re going through right now as far as losing someone and I’m sorry it had to be at the hands of my children.”

Mr Christian has been charged with with two counts of aggravated murder and one count of attempted murder. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Meanwhile, more than than $800,000 has been raised for the families of the three men stabbed. Muslim communities helped raise $330,543 by Monday morning, while two other finds were established to cover the victims’ hospital bills, funeral costs and other expenses. That has raised raised more than $500,000.

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