PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After a jury unanimously found Jeremy Christian guilty on all charges in the 2017 MAX attack, those most directly impacted had swift reactions.
Demetria Hester, who was assaulted by Christian the night before he killed 2 people, said she was very happy at the result.
Michael Fletcher, the father of Micah Fletcher, said, “I’m very happy, especially that it was a unanimous verdict on all counts.”
The May 26, 2017 attack left Taliesin Namkai-Meche and Ricky Best dead and Micah Fletcher critically wounded as the Green Line pulled into the Hollywood Transit Center on May 26, 2017.
Asha Deliverance, Namkai-Meche’s mother, spoke to KOIN 6 News Friday evening after the jury’s verdict. She said she wanted to thank the judge and those witnesses who came forward, but said she has been asked to hold off on speaking about the verdict itself until after sentencing.
“Most of them said they were still very traumatized, I just wanted to thank them for revisiting this so that we can make sure the world is kept a safe place,” said Deliverance. “To the families who had suffered through all of this for two years now, for all showing up and revisiting this incredible event that I feel is an historic event.”
Dyjuana Hudson, the mother of Destinee Mangum, said she was also very happy for the verdict. Destinee was riding the MAX with Walia Mohamed when Jeremy Christian began spewing racist language toward them.
Within an hour of the verdict, Tomi Rene—who regularly rides the MAX—went to the Hollywood Transit Center and laid flowers to honor the victims.
“I was almost on that very train, I came this close to being on the jury—due to my job I was exempt,” said Rene. “I could not, not do this.”
Isa Islam, another regular MAX rider, said he was riding the MAX on the day of the attack. He said years later, he could still feel the impact of that day.
“People just have to be careful and mindful when they are on the train,” said Islam. “There are still people out there like him. They are on the train every day.”
Zakir Khan, the spokeperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Oregon) said: “We welcome the verdict in this case and hope that it leads to a new path for Oregon — one in which we all see the importance of standing up to and defeating hate. The memories of Ricky Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche’s lives should remind us of the courage that we all must use to develop a new culture here in Oregon. That culture should be one in which we accept, love and believe in each other.”
OFFICIAL REACTION TO THE VERDICT
In tweets, Mayor Ted Wheeler said, “The conviction won’t fully take away the pain inflicted on the families, friends and loved ones of the victims in the MAX attack, but the hope is that they find relief in the legal justice that was served today. The incident aboard the MAX train on May 26, 2017, left a deep wound in our community, a community that rejects hate, racism and violence in any form.”
PPB Chief Jami Resch tweeted: This horrific attack on members of our community has traumatically impacted the victims, their families, those who witnessed the events and provided emergency aid to the injured, our first responders who attempted to save the lives of those mortally wounded, our officers who apprehended the suspect and gathered witness accounts, and our investigators who spent countless hours building a case. While the criminal phase of this event has concluded, the deep impacts of the loss of lives for the families, friends, and our community will not be forgotten. Violence is not acceptable in the City of Portland. My hope is for us to come together as a community with more kindness and increased tolerance for differences as we continue our healing.
Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill said in a statement:
“Our community continues to feel the profound impact from this violent and racist attack that happened more than two years ago. This verdict supports and upholds the state’s belief that Jeremy Joseph Christian acted intentionally when he committed these crimes. We thank the jurors for their dedication, diligence and swift deliverance of justice. While we are pleased with today’s verdict, we continue to focus our efforts toward helping the families of Ricky Best and Taliesin Namkai-Meche as well as Micah Fletcher, Demetria Hester, Wailo Mohamed, Destinee Mangum and Shawn Forde deal with the unimaginable and lasting trauma caused by Jeremy Joseph Christian.
I am proud and very appreciative of First Assistant Jeff Howes and Chief Deputy District Attorney Don Rees who represented the State of Oregon and presented the jury with a comprehensive and clear presentation of evidence in their unwavering pursuit of justice. I also want to recognize Multnomah County Deputy District Attorneys Rachna Hajari and Ashly Crockett both of whom provided instrumental contributions and assistance throughout this case. I recognize our Victim Advocates Chanel Thomas, Julie Jacobs and Emily Hyde for the dedicated support and advocacy they have and will continue to provide the victims in this case. Finally, I recognize District Attorney Investigator Steve Ober and Senior Legal Assistant Tammy Ruffing for their assistance during the pendency of this case.”