Army Veteran and City of Portland Employee Died While Standing Up to Killer on MAX Train

Ricky John Best, 53 of Happy Valley worked for the city's Bureau of Development Services.

A city of Portland employee and 23-year U.S. Army veteran is one of two men to have died confronting a white supremacist who was harassing to two young Muslim girls.

Ricky John Best, 53, of Happy Valley, died at the scene after the late Friday afternoon attack.

He worked for the city of Portland at Bureau of Developments Services since January 2015 after 23 years in the Army. He retired in 2012 after rising to the rank of platoon sergeant for Corps maintenance, according to an email to BDS employees from the bureau's interim director Rebecca Esau.

At the city bureau, which regulates construction projects, he worked as a tech in the permitting department.

He is survived by his wife, Myhanh Duong Best, and four children, Erik, Isaac, David, and Tramanh.

"This is an extremely sad, tragic and difficult time for us," writes Esau in the email to BDS employees announcing his death.

Police also confirmed the death of a Reed College graduate, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche.

A 21-year-old Portland man was also injured in the attacks but is expected to survive, according to police.

Their alleged killer, a white supremacist named Jeremy Joseph Christian, is scheduled to appear in Multnomah County Circuit Court on murder charges Tuesday—the court is closed Monday for Memorial Day.

Related: The accused killer is a Portland white supremacist who vowed war against Jews and Muslims.

This afternoon's press release from the Portland Police Bureau says the two women who were targets of the anti-Muslim rant have been in contact with police detectives.

Update 3:20 pm:

City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly called Best a "treasured employee "

"Losing a colleague is hard," she says in a statement. "Losing someone under these circumstances makes it even worse. We are very saddened at the loss of Rick and we will remember him fondly as we move forward."

Full statement:

"My heart goes out to the family of Rick Best. They have lost a husband and a father, and we have lost a treasured employee.

"Rick worked for the city for a little more than two years and was a valued member of our Bureau of Development Services team.

"And as a veteran, he served our country with honor and distinction. He stood up for two young women and others he didn't even know – all because he wanted to help.

"Losing a colleague is hard. Losing someone under these circumstances makes it even worse. We are very saddened at the loss of Rick and we will remember him fondly as we move forward.

"I have asked our Human Resources bureau to make sure we have EAP counselors available to BDS staff when we return to work on Tuesday."


Willamette Week's journalism is funded, in part, by our readers. Your help supports local, independent journalism that informs, educates, and engages our community. Become a WW supporter.