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Oregon Catholic father of four killed trying to protect fellow passengers


  • Rick Best, a 53-year-old member of Christ the King Parish in Milwaukie, Ore., was stabbed to death May 26 when trying to defend two young women from a man who yelled epithets at them aboard a commuter train, said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. Best is pictured in an undated photo. (CNS photo/courtesy Best family)
  • A candle with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is seen alongside a note and flowers at a makeshift memorial May 29 in Portland, Ore., for two men who were killed May 26 on a commuter train while they were trying to defend two young women from a man yelling epithets against them aboard a commuter train, said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. Rick Best, a 53-year-old member of Christ the King Parish in Milwaukie, Ore., was one of the victims. (CNS photo/Terray Sylvester, Reuters)
  • A Muslim woman prays at a makeshift memorial May 29 in Portland, Ore., for two men who were killed May 26 on a commuter train while they were trying to defend two young women from a man yelling racial epithets at them aboard a commuter train, said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. Rick Best, a 53-year-old member of Christ the King Parish in Milwaukie, Ore., was one of the victims. (CNS photo/Terray Sylvester, Reuters)
  • A woman walks down a ramp at the light rail station in Portland, Ore., where citizens have constructed a massive makeshift memorial for two men killed May 26 while they were defending two women from an attacker authorities said was using racial hate speech. Rick Best, a 53-year-old member of Christ the King Parish in Milwaukie, Ore., was one of the victims. (CNS photo/Ed Langlois, Catholic Sentinel)

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PORTLAND, Ore. (CNS) -- On a crowded Portland commuter train May 26, a selfless Catholic father of four stepped forward to calm a tense situation. He was that kind of guy.

Rick Best defended two women being accosted by a passenger yelling hate speech about Muslims and other groups. Best, a 53-year-old member of Christ the King Parish in Milwaukie, Oregon, would die for his noble deed.

In less than a minute, he and another defender were slain, slashed in the neck in front of horrified onlookers. A third man survived the knife attack.

Best's funeral Mass is set for June 5 at Christ the King Church.

The accused killer, 35-year-old Jeremy Christian, had been on a racially charged rampage. With a history of police run-ins going back 15 years at least, he was caught on camera in April, draped in an American flag and repeatedly yelling bigoted epithets during a demonstration in Portland. On his Facebook page, he posted a photo of himself performing the Nazi salute and declared himself a white supremacist.

The day before the killings, Christian hurled a bottle at a black woman at another rail station.

On the unseasonably warm afternoon of May 26, one of the young women who became Christian's focus on the packed train was wearing a hijab; the other was black.

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