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Mom praises Ashland grad for defending daughter

PORTLAND — The mother of one of the girls who was the target of a hate-filled rant against Muslims on a Portland train has said she is overwhelmed with gratitude and sadness for the strangers who were stabbed to death when they came to her daughter's defense.

Dyjuana Hudson posted a photo on her Facebook page Sunday of Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, who graduated from Ashland High School, saying: "Thank you thank you thank you... You will always be our hero ....I'm soooooo sorry this happened."

Meche, 23, and Ricky John Best, 53, of Happy Valley, were killed Friday as they tried to stop Jeremy Joseph Christian from harassing Hudson's 16-year-old daughter, Destinee Mangum, and her friend, authorities have said. The friend was wearing a hijab. Christian's social media postings indicate an affinity for Nazis and political violence.

He was charged with aggravated murder, intimidation and a firearms charge and is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday. Telephone messages left at the home of Christian's mother on Sunday and Monday were not immediately returned.

President Donald Trump on Monday condemned the fatal stabbing of the good Samaritans who came to the aid of the girls.

"The violent attacks in Portland on Friday are unacceptable," Trump said in a Tweet. "The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Our prayers are w/ them."

Injured in the attack was 21-year-old Micah David-Cole Fletcher, a student at Portland State University. He was hospitalized after being stabbed in the neck and his girlfriend, Miranda Helm, told The Oregonian/Oregon Live on Sunday that he was recovering his strength and was eating.

The attacks came on a light rail train on the first day of Ramadan, the holiest time of year for Muslims.

Mangum told KPTV that she and her 17-year-old friend were riding the train when Christian started yelling at them. She said her friend is Muslim, but she's not.

"He told us to go back to Saudi Arabia, and he told us we shouldn't be here, to get out of his country," Mangum said. "He was just telling us that we basically weren't anything and that we should kill ourselves."

The teens moved toward the back of the train, preparing to get off at the next stop.

"And then we turned around while they were fighting and he just started stabbing people and it was just blood everywhere and we just started running for our lives," Mangum said.

A heart-shaped wreath covered with positive messages hangs on a traffic light pole at a memorial for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday, while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women, including one wearing a Muslim head covering, on a light-trail train in Portland, Ore, Saturday, May 27, 2017. A memorial grew all day Saturday outside the transit center in Portland, as people stopped with flowers, candles, signs and painted rocks. Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, was booked on suspicion of murder and attempted murder in the attack. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)