As Ricky John Best, a 53-year-old Army veteran, lay dying on the MAX train in Portland after he was stabbed by a white supremacist for defending two Muslim girls, an individual took the opportunity to make off with his wedding band and backpack.
Portland police on Thursday revealed this disturbing twist in the May 26 incident, and posted images of the purported robber on YouTube and Twitter, urging the public to assist them in locating him.
“The suspect is described as a white male with a blonde hair mullet, wearing a black Jordan Brand baseball cap, a black T-shirt featuring an image of Marilyn Monroe and an American flag, black shorts, and black shoes,” Portland police said in a statement.
Best was one of two men who lost their lives during the confrontation, which began when 35-year-old Jeremy Joseph Christian began hurling racial slurs at two black teenage girls — one of whom was wearing a hijab — on the light-rail train. Best, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, and Micah Johnson, 21, intervened to defend the girls. Christian attacked the men with a knife, killing Namkai-Meche and Best, and leaving Johnson badly wounded. All three have since been hailed as national heroes.
Christian was arrested shortly after leaving the train and has been charged with two counts of aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder, first-degree assault, three counts of unlawful use of a weapon. and two counts of intimidation.
While being transported to the police station, according to an affidavit, Christian showed no remorse, and said he was “happy” that he stabbed the men. “I hope they all die,” Christian said.
During his arraignment Tuesday, Christian shouted, “You call it terrorism, I call it patriotism. You hear me? Die.”
Christian’s family released a statement on Thursday afternoon, expressing their “deepest sympathies to the families of the deceased; to the young women harassed; and to everyone who tried to protect these young women.”
“We cannot begin to understand this senseless act,” his family said. “We abhor violence, racism, and bigotry. We are praying for healing for everyone affected by the horrible actions of our son.”
Christian’s next court appearance will be on June 7.