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"It was his final act of bravery." 'Heroes' killed for defending Muslim women on a train.

Two men have been killed after standing up to Muslim hate on a TriMet train in Portland, Oregon.

The men – 53-year-old Ricky Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche – tried to stop a man from abusing two women on a train because they appeared to be Muslim.

Witnesses say 35-year-old Jeremy Joseph Christian approached the two women on the 4.30pm train on Friday and started “ranting and raving”.

Evelin Hernandez, a passenger on the train, told KATU-TV that he said: “Get off the bus, and get out of the country because you don’t pay taxes here”.

men killed portland oregon
Jeremy Joseph Christian. Image via Portland Police Bureau.

When three men including Best and Namkai-Meche, and a third man named Micah Fletcher, tried to intervene to protect the women - Christian allegedly viciously attacked them.

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Best died on the train, Namkai-Meche later died in hospital, and Fletcher was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Officers were able to detain Christian as he alighted the train, but they were unable to talk to the two women, as they had already left the area.

Christian has been charged with two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of intimidation in the second degree, one of attempted murder, and one count of being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon.

In the past, Christian has been convicted for felony robbery, kidnapping and possession of weapons.

According to the Huffington Post, Christian was known to police for his white supremacist views, but they did not see him as a threat to the public. They believe he is mentally ill.

On April 29, police confiscated a bat from Christian at a "March for Free Speech" rally in Portland.

The Willamette Week identified him as the man in the American flag in this video:

Namkai-Meche's mother Asha Deliverance posted a tribute to her son on Facebook, writing: "He was a hero and will remain a hero on the other side of the veil".

While his sister Vajra Alaya-Maitreya released a statement on behalf of the family.

"Taliesin Myrddin lived a joyous and full life. His enthusiasm was infectious. We lost him in a senseless act that brought close to home the insidious rift of prejudice and intolerance that is too familiar, too common," the statement reads.

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"He was resolute in his conduct and respect of all people. In his final act of bravery, he held true to what he believed is the way forward. He will live in our hearts forever as the just, brave, loving, hilarious and beautiful soul he was. We ask that in honor of his memory, we use this tragedy as an opportunity for reflection and change. We choose love. Safe journey Taliesin. We love you."

A Portland-area business owner has set up a GoFundMe page to support the families of the "TriMet Heroes".

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