Two men were stabbed to death when they intervened during a racially motivated attack last week
A homeless man in Portland, Oregon, is facing a number of criminal charges after being arrested for stealing the wedding ring of a man fatally stabbed on a train as he came to the aid of two teenage girls.
George Tschaggeny, 53, was reportedly wearing Army veteran and father-of-four Ricky Best’s wedding band when he was caught by Portland police. Tschaggeny has now been arraigned on charges of second-degree theft, tampering with physical evidence and abuse of a corpse in the second degree.
“It’s completely heartless,” Sgt Peter Simpson told The Oregonian newspaper. “There is no other way to describe what happened.”
As well as removing the dying Best’s wedding ring from his finger as he lay dying, Tschaggeny is also accused of taking off with a backpack filled with personal items, some of which are now missing.
Suspect in theft of property from Ricky Best has been apprehended. More details released soon. Great job Portland! pic.twitter.com/LwOXxTdnpT— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) June 2, 2017
After posting a surveillance video from the train station showing Tschaggeny absconding with Best’s belonging, tips came in from across the city as police looked to track him down. The homeless man was ultimately arrested under a motorway flyover after being spotted by “an alert Domino’s Pizza employee.”
Ricky Best was returning home after a day at work when he and fellow passengers Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche (23) and Micah David-Cole Fletcher (21) responded to intense racial slurs made by Jeremy Joseph Christian towards two teenage girls, one of whom was wearing a hijab.
Christian, a 35-year-old white nationalist, fatally stabbed both Best and Meche, with Fletcher also injured.
“Two men lost their lives and another was injured for doing the right thing, standing up for people they didn’t know against hatred,” Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said after the train attack.
“Their actions were brave and selfless, and should serve as an example and inspiration to us all. They are heroes.”
Jeremy Joseph Christian was arrested for the stabbings, but refused to enter a plea when he appeared in court. Instead, he shouted: “Leave this country if you hate our freedom – death to antifa [anti-fascism].
“Free speech or die, Portland. You got no safe place. This is America – get out if you don’t like free speech.”
Ricky Best had retired from the US Army in 2012 after serving for 23 years, including tours of Afghanistan and Iraq. At the time of his death, he worked as a technician for Portland’s Bureau of Development Services.
“He was always cheery,” his son Erik Best told local media. “After serving in the military, he’d usually say, ‘Hey, I’m not getting shot at, why shouldn’t I smile?’”