Portland Police and witnesses say a triple stabbing aboard a MAX train Friday afternoon may have been religiously motivated.
The stabbing was reported around 4:30 p.m. as the train pulled into the Hollywood Transit Center station in Northeast Portland. Two people have been pronounced dead and another has non-life threatening injuries.
Multiple witnesses told KATU the suspect was hurling racial insults at two women, at least one of whom was wearing a hijab. Police wouldn’t confirm their ages, but referred to them as “girls” and “young women.”
Sgt. Pete Simpson with Portland Police added the suspect appeared to be acting erratically, and wasn’t necessarily focused on anti-Muslim insults during the attack.
Two men who came to the women’s defense had their throats slashed by the suspect, Sgt. Simpson said.
He said the two young women had left the train before police arrived. The identities of the women aren’t known and Simpson said detectives would like to speak to them and any others who left the scene.
“[The suspect] said, ‘Get off the bus, and get out of the country because you don’t pay taxes here,’ [he said he] doesn’t like Muslims, they’re criminals,” Evelin Hernandez said.
The suspect is in police custody after he was caught in a nearby neighborhood thanks to multiple witness reports.
“Itâs horrific. There is no other way to describe it,” Sgt. Simpson said.
His identity hasn’t been released. He was initially hospitalized but has been booked in jail.