PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A woman who said MAX stabbing suspect Jeremy Christian threw a bottle at her the night before he fatally stabbed two men spoke out for the first time on Friday.
Demetria Hester said she was on a MAX train May 25 and had a violent interaction with Jeremy Christian after he boarded the train yelling that he was a neo-Nazi.
“He was saying he hates all blacks, Jews, Mexicans, Japanese…saying he hated and wanted to kill,” Hester said. She asked him to lower his voice and he replied “f**** you b****, you don’t have the right to be on this train.”
She said she knocked on the conductor’s door as Christian continued to rant for three more stops. As she was about to get off at the Rose Quarter, Christian “lunged at me with a Gatorade bottle filled with fluid and hit me in my right eye, and I grabbed my mace and sprayed him in the face with mace, and he went down,” she said.
Hester said there were 25 people walking around not helping or saying anything. She said she kicked him in the groin and then walked over to the green line to catch the next train.
Two TriMet officers witnessed the incident, she said. One eventually came over to her and asked her if she wanted to speak to officers. She went to speak to police while Christian was washing his face in the drinking fountain nearby. She said officers didn’t try and apprehend him.
Hester said she warned officers about his rant and that he was going to hurt someone, but doesn’t feel like they listened to her. “This is disturbing on so many levels. Where is the protection for the victim?” Hester said.
The press conference was held by local pastors and community leaders seeking police accountability for the events that led up to the fatal May 26 stabbings.
Portland Police responded to the press conference Friday and defended the actions of the responding officer, saying they followed Christian after the incident but lost sight of him. They also said they pointed to Christian while interviewing Hester and she said he wasn’t the suspect.
The witness pointed to a man standing near the fountain (who was identified as Jeremy Christian the following day), and said it was the man who had thrown the bottle. The suspect did not appear to be concerned police were there was not trying to leave the scene.
The officer asked the victim twice to confirm that Christian was the man who had assaulted her. The victim told the officer Christian was not the suspect both times. During traumatic incidents such as this, officers often interview people who need more time to process the information.
At this time, the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to detain Christian. Meanwhile, the suspect began casually walking away, and then the victim identified him as the man who had thrown the bottle at her.
They say they photographed Hester’s injuries and asked TriMet to pull video from the train. The officer told detectives at the homicide scene the next day about the incident the night before.