PORTLAND, Ore. — 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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