Two people were killed and another was injured on a train in Portland after a man began yelling racist remarks at two women who are believed to be Muslim, several news outlets reported Friday.
The man, who was yelling ‘anti-Muslim’ slurs at two young women on a light-rail train, fatally slashed the throats of two men and injured a third person when they tried to intervene, police said, USA Today reports.
The suspect was arrested after he ran off the train at the Hollywood transit station in Portland, Oregon. Police have not released his or the victims’ names, The Oregonian reported.
The attacker was “yelling a gamut of anti-Muslim and anti-everything slurs” before he turned his focus on the women, one of whom was wearing a hijab, police Sgt. Pete Simpson said.
The Portland Police Department characterized the rant as ‘hate speech toward a variety of ethnicities and religions’.
One victim was dead at the scene and while another died at a hospital, Simpson said. The third person was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Evelin Hernandez, a 38-year-old resident of Clackamas, Oregon, said she was on the train when the man began making racist remarks to the women.
“He 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,'” Hernandez told reporters.
After the stabbings, the suspect said he was “free to do what he wanted in America because there’s a new sheriff in the White House,” one witness told KOMO news. He also reportedly said he was getting off at the next stop and that no one should follow him, The Oregonian reported.
Police don’t know if the suspect, described as a white man between the ages of 20 and 40, has mental health issues or whether was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time.
Sgt. Simpson said the young women understandably left the scene before police arrived, adding that authorities hoped to track them down to help fill in what happened.