Destinee Mangum, one of the targets of hate speech on a MAX train, thanks strangers for saving her life. pic.twitter.com/sefmOAyIVt— Fox12Oregon (@fox12oregon) May 28, 2017
On May 26, Destinee Magnum and her Muslim friend were riding the train in Portland, OR, when a man sitting nearby directed an anti-Muslim rant at them. Although the girls moved away from the passenger, Jeremy Joseph Christian, he continued to scream at them. When three other passengers intervened, Christian started slashing them and ended up killing Ricky Best, 53, and Taliesin Namkai-Meche, 23, and injuring Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21.
"He told us to go back to Saudi Arabia and he told us we shouldn't be here, to get out of his country," Magnum recalled, explaining that her 17-year-old friend was wearing a hijab. "He was just telling us that we basically weren't anything and that we should kill ourselves."
Arguments led to punches, which eventually escalated to Christian stabbing these men to death. "We turned around while they were fighting and he just started stabbing people and it was just blood everywhere," she said. "We just started running for our lives."
Now, Magnum is offering her sincere gratitude to the men who lost their lives to help her and her friend.
"I just want to say thank you to the people who put their life on the line for me, they didn't even know me," she tearfully told Fox 12 Oregon. "They lost their lives because of me and my friend, and the way we looked. I just want to say thank you to them and their family, and that I appreciate them. Without them, we probably would be dead right now."
Christian was arrested after attempting to flee on foot and now faces charges of aggravated murder and attempted murder.
These men sacrificed their lives for these two teenagers and are true heroes. While Magnum sadly said she blames herself for their deaths, the internet has rallied to support and remind her that their deaths are NOT her fault, and their courageous actions are nothing short of inspirational.
Destinee Mangum please stay strong and know that the people who lost their lives protecting you did so with love in their hearts.— DC (@DaneCook) May 29, 2017
They did not die because of you. They died because of a hateful, ignorant, pathetic, EMBOLDENED piece of trash. https://t.co/Slieadp763— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) May 29, 2017
Peace to you Destinee. None of this is on you. NONE.— #unityrequiresjustice (@gdtrble) May 28, 2017
— Spider Mann (@spidermann) May 29, 2017
— Marilyn Deutsch (@marilyndeutsch) May 29, 2017