The Friday afternoon disturbance began when a man on a light-rail train "began yelling various remarks that would best be characterized as hate speech toward a variety of ethnicities and religions." Among the subjects of his diatribe were two young women who appeared to be Muslim; one was wearing a hijab.
Portland police have charged Jeremy Joseph Christian with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, according to the Portland Police.
"In the midst of his ranting and raving, some people approached him and appeared to try to intervene with his behavior and some of the people that he was yelling at," Sgt. Pete Simpson told The Oregonian. "They were attacked viciously."
The suspect stabbed (in the throat area) the three men before fleeing the train; police located him and took him into custody.
Police identified the suspect as 35-year-old Jeremy Joseph Christian of North Portland, Oregon. He has been booked on two counts each of aggravated murder and intimidation in the second degree, and one count each of attempted murder and being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon.
Cat Davila, who was among counter-protesters at the free speech rally, said Christian “showed up part way through the event and came striding straight toward the counter-demonstrator crowd very purposefully waving a baseball bat by his side and staring us down.”
As he drew closer, Davila said, police “blocked him and took his bat and from then on he just yelled a lot.”
The Zodiac Killer was a serial killer who operated in northern California in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The killer's identity remains unknown. The Zodiac murdered victims in Benicia, Vallejo, Lake Berryessa, and San Francisco between December 1968 and October 1969. Four men and three women between the ages of 16 and 29 were targeted. The killer originated the name "Zodiac" in a series of taunting letters sent to the local Bay Area press. These letters included four cryptograms (or ciphers). Of the four cryptograms sent, only one has been definitively solved.