On Monday night, Timothy Caughman was stabbed with a sword in New York City while collecting bottles on a sidewalk in Manhattan, later dying of his injuries at a nearby hospital. According to police, he was randomly targeted by his assailant because he was black.
The AP reports that little over a day after Caughman died, James Harris Jackson turned himself in the early hours of Wednesday morning, reportedly telling police “I’m the one you’re looking for.” Investigators believe that Jackson was considering committing other crimes, but eventually turned himself in after seeing his photo in the news. Surveillance footage captured Jackson from the days leading up to Monday’s attack showed him “walking purposefully toward a black man,” investigators said, but without attacking him.
Caughman, who was 66, lived in a transitional home and, “according to his Twitter page, he was an autograph collector and a music and movie lover who tweeted about John Lennon, Chuck Berry and the best St. Patrick’s Day writing. He said he’d like to visit California someday,” the AP reports.
According to CNN, Jackson travelled to New York by bus from Baltimore on March 17 with the sole intention of targeting black men. NYPD Assistant Chief, Bill Aubry said Wednesday “The attack was clearly racially motivated. It’s well over 10 years he has been harboring these feelings of hate towards male blacks.”
Jackson is an Army vet who picked New York City because it’s the “media capital of the world and he wanted to make a statement,” police said. The New York Daily News reports that he also has ties to a “known hate group,” though police declined to identify the group in question.
In a statement Mayor Bill de Blasio called the crime an “unspeakable human tragedy” and “an assault on what makes [New York] the greatest city in the world: our inclusivness and our diversity.”
Jackson is currently being charged with second-degree murder but police are working to “add a hate crime or racially motivated crime” in order to make the charge that of first-degree murder.