A man who was yelling “anti-Muslim and anti-everything slurs” on Friday fatally stabbed two men on a crowded commuter train in Portland, Oregon, a police spokesman said.
Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson told CNN that the suspect may have been targeting two girls who were described as Muslim, as one of them was wearing a hijab.
“We have not been able to find those girls to verify that,” Simpson said.
The man’s remarks are considered as hate speech by the police, the department said in a statement, adding that the incident occurred on a Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) light-rail train.
Police said one of the stabbed men died at the scene while the second victim died at a hospital. One of them was stabbed in the neck, witnesses said.
A third passenger who also tried to intervene was inured but is expected to survive, police said, adding that the victims were trying to protect other passengers from the perpetrator.
“We do not know if the suspect was drunk, on medication, had mental issues or anything else,” Simpson said.
The incident occurred as the start of Ramadan, a Muslim holy month-long period of fasting, approached at sunset.