Reed Grad Slain Defending Teenagers from Hate

By Chris Lydgate '90 | May 27, 2017

Reed graduate Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche ’16 was one of the two people fatally stabbed while protecting the safety of others on the Portland, Oregon MAX train on Friday, May 26, 2017.

According to police reports, Taliesin was attacked while trying to intervene during an incident characterized by witnesses as an anti-Muslim and racist tirade.

President John R Kroger described the loss as "shocking and horrific."

Taliesin majored in Economics at Reed. We have heard from many community members this morning who are sharing their grief and memories of this beloved young man. Prof. Kambiz GhaneaBassiri [religion] described Taliesin as an extraordinary person. “I still remember where he sat in conference and the types of probing, intelligent questions I could anticipate him asking. He was thoughtful, humble, smart, inquisitive, and compassionate. He was a wonderful human being. As good as they come. And now he is a hero to me."

Prof. Noelwah Netusil [economics] was Taliesin’s thesis advisor, and describes him as “a very caring person, smart, hardworking, and with such a bright future.” Other remembrances by friends were published in the Oregonian on Sunday.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler issued a statement hailing Taliesin and the other bystanders as heroes. "Two men lost their lives and another was injured for doing the right thing, standing up for people they didn't know against hatred. Their actions were brave and selfless, and should serve as an example an inspiration to us all. They are heroes."

"As we mourn together and seek ways to honor Taliesin’s life, we will provide information about any memorials as it becomes available," President Kroger said. "Our deepest sympathies go out to Taliesin’s family and friends, the other brave victims, and their friends and family."

The suspect in the case was apprehended and has been charged with murder.

UPDATE: Alumni, parents, and friends have established a scholarship fund in Taliesin's name. Please visit this website to make a contribution.

Tags: Alumni, Editor's Picks, Obituaries