James Harris Jackson, a 28-year-old white male, traveled to New York City to commit a hate crime. As a result, Timothy Caughman, a 66-year-old Black man, is dead.
Bill Aubrey, a deputy chief at the New York Police Department, said in a press conference Wednesday that Jackson left his home in Baltimore, Md., on March 17and took the bus to New York City to harm Black people “because it is the media capital of the world and he wanted to make a statement.”
Police reported that on Monday night Jackson, who was walking the streets of Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in a long overcoat, which hid a 26-inch sword with an 18-inch blade, encountered Caughman while he was collecting bottles from trash cans on a sidewalk. Jackson attacked Caughman, stabbing him multiple times in his chest and back.
Caughman, bleeding, staggered into a nearby police station a few minutes later. He was taken to nearby Bellevue Hospital, where he died.
Soon after midnight on Wednesday, Jackson turned himself in at a police station in Times Square. He told police he had knives in his pocket but had discarded the weapon he used to kill Caughman.
Jackson had seen images circulated by police from surveillance cameras showing him at the scene, dressed in a black coat, police said.
“He said that ‘I’m the person that you’re looking for,’ and he had knives in his pocket,” Aubrey said. “It was revealed that the attack on Timothy Caughman was clearly racially motivated. It is believed that he was specifically intending to target male Blacks.”
The National Registry of Exonerations report analyzed data on crimes for which exonerations are most common.
Jackson said that for at least 10 years he has harbored feelings of hatred toward Black men, according to authorities.
He was arrested on a charge of second-degree murder. However, Aubrey said police want to upgrade the charge by classifying it as a hate crime. On Thursday,Jackson appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court. Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said in court that the charge may be increased to first-degree murder as it was most likely an act of terrorism.
Jackson told police that he was angered at Black men who dated white women, according to a criminal complaint. He also said he stalked numerous potential victims before choosingCaughman.
“We are a safe city because we are inclusive. We are a nation of unrivaled strength because we are diverse,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement condemning the attack. “No act of violence can undermine who we are.”
Jackson served as a specialist in the U.S. Army until 2012 and was deployed in Afghanistan for nearly a year beginning in December 2010, an Army spokeswoman said.
Jackson’s victim, Caughman, maintained a Twitter page. He described himself as a can and bottle recycler, and autograph collector, in New York City.
“I would love to visit California,” he wrote. “I’m a good businessman.”
His profile picture is a photo with superstar Beyonc at what appears to be a department store event to promote her fragrance.
Caughman’sphotos also include a snapshot that he managed to take with media mogul Oprah Winfrey in 2015.
On November 8, Election Day, he tweeted a photo of himself with the caption: “Standing on line waiting to vote I love America.”
Standing on line waiting to vote I love america pic.twitter.com/jVAeLXtUAq
timothy caughman (@timrock715) November 8, 2016
Jackson traveling to New York City to commit murder is reminiscent of the actions of mass murderer Dylann Roof. A white supremacist, Roof, age 22 at the time, traveled to Charleston, S.C., and killed nine members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, all African Americans, including senior pastor and state senator Clementa C. Pinckney, on June 17, 2015. He wanted to start a race war.
Prosecutors said Dylann Roof admitted he researched various targets before choosing Emanuel AME Church for the shooting.
Roof was convicted in federal court of all 33 federal hate crime charges against him stemming from the shooting, and he was sentenced to death. He is also awaiting trial in South Carolina state court on nine counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.