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Hundreds mourn man killed during heroic act to protect fellow passengers


  • Msgr. Richard Paperini comforts Myhanh Best, wife of Ricky Best, who was killed on a Portland, Ore., commuter train May 26 while defending two girls from an anti-Muslim racist attack. The ceremony was held June 5 at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, following a funeral Mass for Ricky Best at Christ the King Church in Milwaukie, Ore. (CNS photo/Ed Langlois, Catholic Sentinel)
  • 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)

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PORTLAND, Ore. (CNS) -- The morning after police in Portland arrested 14 demonstrators at dueling political protests, about 800 worshippers turned out in a unified show of support for a man whose heroic act transcended division.

Ricky Best was laid to rest in Willamette National Cemetery in Portland June 5 after a funeral Mass at a packed Christ the King Church in the suburb of Milwaukie. On hand were Christians, Muslims, Jews, peace activists and members of a motorcycle club that backs President Donald Trump.

"Many of us consider him a hero. Many of us in the church consider him a martyr," said Msgr. Richard Paperini, pastor of Christ the King.

Best, a 53-year-old city of Portland employee, was one of three men who stepped forward May 26 to defend two teens on a Portland commuter train. The girls, one in a Muslim headscarf and the other black, were the target of an anti-Muslim and racist verbal attack from 35-year-old Jeremy Christian.

When Best -- along with 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and 21-year-old Micah Fletcher -- spoke up, Christian pulled a knife and slashed at the men. Best and Namkai-Meche died and Fletcher was hospitalized. Police apprehended Christian, who has been arraigned on charges of aggravated murder.

One of the girls, 16-year-old Destinee Mangum, attended the funeral with her family.

During the Mass, Best's 19-year-old son spoke to the crowd.

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