Police: MAX stabbing suspect assaulted woman day before deadly attack
Posted August 18
PORTLAND, OR — The murder suspect accused of stabbing and killing two men on a MAX train was involved in an assault on a MAX platform the day before the deadly attack, but he was not taken into custody at that time, according to police.
The Portland Police Bureau released new details regarding 35-year-old Jeremy Christian on Friday.
Police said Christian stabbed and killed Ricky John Best, 53, of Happy Valley, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, of Portland, when they tried to intervene as Christian yelled hate speech at two female passengers on a MAX train on May 26.
Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, of Portland, survived being stabbed.
Investigators now say Christian assaulted a woman at the Rose Quarter Transit Center the day before the deadly attack.
An officer responded to a report of a disturbance between a man and a woman at 11:36 p.m. May 25.
The officer contacted a group of people that included Christian, but there was no information at that time that Christian was a suspect.
The victim was at the scene standing with two TriMet supervisors. The woman said a man threw a plastic Gatorade bottle at her, causing injuries around her eye.
A witness pointed to a man nearby, who was identified as Christian the following day, and said he had thrown the bottle.
Police said Christian did not appear concerned about the officer and he was not trying to leave the scene.
The officer twice asked the victim to confirm Christian was the man who had assaulted her. Both times she said he was not the suspect, according to police.
The officer reported not having reasonable suspicion to detain Christian.
However, as Christian began to walk away, the victim then identified him as the man who threw the bottle at her.
Officers noted people often need more time to process information during traumatic incidents like this.
The officer followed Christian in his patrol car until a cover officer could arrive.
"Officers are trained to wait for a cover officer prior to contacting a potentially violent suspect, to ensure the safety of all involved," according to a Portland Police Bureau statement.
By the time a cover officer arrived, Christian had left the area and the officers were unable to locate him.
The first-responding officer returned to the Rose Quarter Transit Center, interviewed the victim and collected evidence, including the Gatorade bottle.
"On the next day, May 26, 2017, the officer saw news reports and recognized the suspect from the May 25th assault as Jeremy Christian. He notified supervisors on the scene of the homicide about the incident on May 25, 2017," according to the Portland Police Bureau.
Christian is next scheduled to appear in court Oct. 20. He has made repeated outbursts during previous court appearances.