Man indicted in double-fatal Portland, Oregon, train attack

Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- A grand jury has indicted Jeremy Christian, the man accused of killing two passengers and wounding a third on a Portland train last month.

The indictment returned Tuesday charges Christian with aggravated murder, attempted murder, assault, menacing, intimidation and unlawful use of a weapon.

The 35-year-old will be arraigned on the indictment Wednesday.

Prosecutors say Christian boarded the train May 26 and yelled hateful comments at two black teenage girls, one of whom was wearing an Islamic head covering called a hijab. Prosecutors say he then turned his attention to three men, stabbing each of them in the neck.

Four charges in the 15-count indictment are from an incident that happened a day before the killings. Christian had a confrontation with a woman at a train station and hit her in the face with a bottle before she pepper-sprayed him, Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson said.

Simpson could not confirm if the charges dated May 25 were related to that incident, as has been reported by other news outlets. Deputy District Attorney Ryan Lufkin did not return a call seeking comment.

Christian has yet to enter a plea and remains in a downtown Portland jail.

He made a brief but chaotic initial court appearance last week.

"Free speech or die! You've got no safe place," he shouted when entering the courtroom May 30. As the hearing wrapped up, he said, among other things: "You call it terrorism; I call it patriotism!"

Supporters of the victims erupted in anger as they listened to the livestream of his outbursts outside the small courtroom that was filled beyond capacity. A brawl nearly ensued when the fired-up crowd confronted a man who had come to the courthouse to support Christian.

Court officials Tuesday announced steps to ensure there is no repeat of the commotion, including a ban on livestream video while Christian is in the courtroom.