Nearly a week after a white supremacist killed two men who were trying to protect two teens, Muslim groups have banded together to raise over $500,000 to support the families of the brave men and one survivor.
Army veteran Ricky Best, 53, and college graduate Taliesin Namkai-Meche were stabbed to death Friday by Jeremy Christian while protecting 16-year-old Destinee Mangum and her friend, who was wearing a hijab. Mangum told reporters that Christian was shouting at them to “go back to Saudi Arabia” and to “leave his country.” When Best, Namkai-Meche and Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, stepped in to intervene, Christian stabbed all three men.
Fletcher was wounded but survived.
The Muslim groups, CelebrateMercy and the Muslim Education Trust, created a LaunchGood online fundraising campaign on Saturday to raise money to help with funeral costs for Best and Namkai-Meche and Fletcher’s medical bills. The initial target of the campaign, which was dubbed Muslims Unite for Portland Heroes, was $60,000 and that was raised within five hours.
The total raised so far is over $516,000.
Christian appeared in court on Tuesday and faces charges including two counts of aggravated murder, attempted murder, two counts of second-degree intimidation and being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon, Think Progress reports. Federal authorities are still deciding whether to prosecute him for hate crimes.