PORTLAND, OR (KPTV/CNN) - A teenage girl targeted by hate speech before a deadly train stabbing in Portland is speaking out.
Police say a man yelled anti-Muslim slurs at her and her friend - and then stabbed to death two other men who tried to help them.
The girl has a simple message for the two heroes - "thank you."
Holding her mom's hand tight, 16-year-old Destinee Mangum says she's lucky to be alive.
"I just want to forget about it and not even remember it happened, because it's just haunting me,” Destinee said.
Mangum says yesterday afternoon she got on the public transportation train called MAX at the Lloyd Center with her friend, a 17-year-old girl who is Muslim. Destinee is not.
Soon after, she says a man started yelling at them spouting off hate.
"He told us to go back to Saudi Arabia and he told us we shouldn't be here and to get out of his country. He was just telling us that we basically weren't anything and that we should just kill ourselves," Destinee said.
The 16-year-old said they were scared, and decided to move to the back of the train, all while a stranger jumped in to help.
"This white male from the back of us was like he's talking to you guys? You guys can't disrespect these young ladies like that. Then they just all started arguing," Destinee said.
What happened next, Destinee said she'll never forget.
"Me and my friend were going to get off the MAX and then we turned around while they were fighting and he just started stabbing people and it was just blood everywhere and we just started running for our lives," she said.
Mangum's mom, Dyjuana Hudson, says she owes everything to the two men that died and their now grieving families.
"I want to say thank you so much. I couldn't imagine what you're going through right now as far as losing someone and I'm sorry it had to be at the hands of my children," Hudson said.
The suspect, Jeremy Christian, is facing aggravated murder charges. Police say he also stabbed a third person in the incident, who is now in the hospital.
As for Destinee, she has her own message to the strangers turned heroes, who she says gave up their lives to protect hers.
"I just want to say thank you to the people who put their life on the line for me because they didn't even know me and they lost their lives because of me and my friend and the way we look. And I just want to say thank you to them and their family and that I appreciate them because, without them, we probably would be dead right now," Destinee said.
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