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Candles with photos of Taliesin Namkai-Meche, right, and Ricky Best on them are shown at a memorial for the two men in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, May 31, 2017, The man charged with fatally stabbing the two men and injuring a third who tried to shield young women from an anti-Muslim tirade, appeared to brag about the attacks as he sat in the back of a police patrol car according to court documents.(AP Photo/Don Ryan)
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Family of suspect in Portland stabbing offers condolences

Candles with photos of Taliesin Namkai-Meche, right, and Ricky Best on them are shown at a memorial for the two men in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, May 31, 2017, The man charged with fatally stabbing the two men and injuring a third who tried to shield young women from an anti-Muslim tirade, appeared to brag about the attacks as he sat in the back of a police patrol car according to court documents.(AP Photo/Don Ryan)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Relatives of a man accused of stabbing two men to death who tried to defend two women from an anti-Muslim rant have offered their condolences to the victims’ families.

In a letter, Jeremy Christian’s family expressed sympathy to the slain men’s loved ones; to the young women who were harassed on a light-rail train; and to those who tried to protect them.

The family said in a statement Thursday that they abhor violence, racism and bigotry and can’t begin to understand the senseless act.

Prosecutors say Christian focused his racist tirade last Friday on two teenage girls, one of whom was wearing a hijab.

After the girls moved away from Christian, he got into a confrontation with other passengers. Prosecutors say he fatally stabbed two men and wounded a third.

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