Young women targeted in MAX attack speak out, thank men who step - KPTV - FOX 12

Young women targeted in MAX attack speak out, thank men who stepped in to help

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Walio Mohamed (left) and Destinee Mangum. (Image: KPTV) Walio Mohamed (left) and Destinee Mangum. (Image: KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A year gone by in an instant – that’s how two young women describe the time since they were targeted on a MAX train. 

Three heroes stepped in to save the young women, and it cost two of them their lives. 

Saturday will mark the one-year anniversary of the deadly MAX stabbing. There will be a dedication, a ceremony, and a celebration of the strangers who came to help them. 

But for right now, they are still dealing with the raw emotion of that day. 

Destinee Mangum and Walio Mohamed weren’t supposed to be on the MAX train the day of May 26, 2017. 

“That day, it was supposed to be a fun, sunny, beautiful day. After we got lost, everything just turned into a cloud,” said Mohamed. 

They went the wrong way, rode to the wrong stop and fatefully, wound up too close to the wrong man. 

“It’s like you could feel his energy. Our first thing was like, we have to move away from him,” said Mangum. 

Mohamed was wearing a hijab. 

Witnesses say Jeremy Christian yelled hate speech at the young women and told them to leave the country. That’s when strangers jumped in to help. 

“He was like, ‘You can’t be talking to young ladies like that. That’s not OK,’” said Mangum. 

Mangum and Mohamed got off at the Hollywood Transit Center, and that’s when police say Christian attacked the men. 

Ricky Best and Taleisin Namkai Meche were stabbed and killed. Micah Fletcher was hurt but he survived. 

Those memories are still too raw for the young women, who are finding strength in each other. 

The year has changed the best friends. Mohamed is no longer a practicing Muslim and she no longer wears the hijab. She has spent the year struggling to come to terms with what happened. 

“I was struggling with anxiety and other symptoms. I was in and out of emergencies, different hospitals like every day and I was just trying to heal. You know, it was going to take time,” said Mohamed. 

She says that’s why she waited until now to come forward, but she wants to share her gratitude. 

“Those men deserve everything. They’ve taken their lives for us. It means the world. I’m thankful every day no matter what I go through,” Mohamed said.  

What do they hope for Christian? 

“I hope he finds the peace in his heart that he needs just to accept all people and to not feel like killing someone is going to get him what he wants,” said Mangum. 

Christian’s trial is next year. 

Mangum and Mohamed will be at this weekend’s dedication, which will be held at the Hollywood Transit Center on Saturday at 4 p.m. 

A mural will be dedicated to the men. There is also time set aside for what the schedule calls “community healing.” 

Copyright 2018 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. 

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