A Maryland white supremacist is accused of fatally stabbing a 66-year-old man with a sword in a racially motivated attack in Midtown Manhattan, the NYPD says.
James Harris Jackson, 28, traveled from Baltimore to New York City to target black men, the New York Daily News reports. Jackson turned himself in on Wednesday after the Tuesday night stabbing on West 39th Street near 9th Avenue, the Daily News reports.
Authorities say he planned more killings and told police the attack was “practice” for a Times Square bloodbath, DNAInfo reports.
Assistant Police Chief William Aubry told reporters, “We’re very fortunate that it stopped at one, and it wasn’t more.”
The victim, Timothy Caughman, who is black, was attacked by Jackson about 11:30 p.m., police said.
Jackson has been charged with second-degree murder, and additional hate crime-related charges could also be added and the murder charge could be upgraded to first-degree.
“The defendant was motivated purely by hatred,” Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi told NBC New York. “As this was an act most likely of terrorism.”
Police Commissioner James O’Neill said at a press conference Wednesday that the attack was “clearly racially motivated,” calling it “extremely distressing.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Jackson Was Seen on Video Running From the Scene While Holding the Knife After Stabbing Caughman Multiple Times in the Chest, Police Say
James Harris Jackson was caught on surveillance video running away from the scene Tuesday night. The NYPD released the video, which you can watch above, in hopes of identifying him.
According to the New York Daily News, police said Jackson stabbed Timothy Caughman in the chest multiple times. The victim could be heard saying, “What are you doing?” during the attack, the Daily News reports.
Jackson surrendered to police at the NYPD’s substation in Times Square about 1 a.m., sources told the Daily News.
“You need to arrest me. I have the knife in my coat,” Jackson told officers.
Police found the knife used in the attack, the New York Post reports.
He was carrying the wanted flier with his photo on it and told the officers, “I’m the person you’re looking for,” PIX 11 reports.
The news station described the weapon as a “26-inch black sword,” which you can see above.
Police said the surveillance video “proves that the victim was attacked because he was black.”
2. The Victim, Bleeding From His Wounds, Stumbled Into a Nearby Police Station After He Was Stabbed
Timothy Caughman was stabbed multiple times in the chest, and while bleeding from his wounds, stumbled to the Midtown South Precinct, where he collapsed, PIX 11 reports.
Caughman, 66, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, where he later died.
Police said Caughman was rummaging through garbage outside 462 Ninth Avenue when he was attacked by Jackson at random.
“Our victim happened to be going through trash on the sidewalk,” Assistant Chief William Aubry told reporters. “There was nobody else around.”
Jackson had been wandering around the city since he arrived last Friday and had stayed in a Midtown hotel, police say. He was seen on video stalking another black man, following him around, but did not attack him, according to police.
Police said that after the attack on Caughman, Jackson went to the bathroom of a nearby restaurant and washed the blood off of himself from the killing.
3. Police Say Jackson Is a Member of a Hate Group in Maryland & Came to New York ‘to Harm Male Blacks’
Jackson is a member of a documented hate group in Maryland, the New York Daily News reports.
He told detectives came to New York City from Baltimore “to harm black males,” specifically those who date white women, according to police.
According to the New York Post, Jackson told officers he turned himself in before he attacked an interracial couple in Times Square early Wednesday morning.
Jackson said he became enraged when he saw a white woman with a black man, according to the Post, and surrendered to police to avoid killing again.
A former neighbor told the Associated Press that Jackson was studying to be lawyer, but skipped out on a Maryland apartment after falling several months behind on rent.
Marcus Dagan, who said he informally manages the Baltimore building where he and Jackson lived in 2014 and 2015, told the AP that Jackson is “one of those people that you wish you never met.”
4. Jackson Is an Army Veteran & Reportedly Wrote a Manifesto Declaring His Racist Views
Jackson wrote a manifesto declaring his racist views, the New York Post reports. Details from that manifesto have not been made public.
According to PIX 11, Jackson came to New York City on Friday, taking a Bolt Bus from Baltimore. Jackson chose Manhattan because “it’s the media capital of the world and he wanted to make a statement,” police told the reporters, DNAInfo reports.
Jackson is an Army veteran and was deployed to Afghanistan, according to PIX 11. He told police he has been “harboring (racist) feelings for quite some time,” possibly up to 10 years, police said.
“He knew what he was doing when he was coming up here,” NYPD’s Chief of Detectives for Manhattan William Aubry said at a press conference. “It is believed he was specifically intending to target male blacks. It’s been well over 10 years that he has been harboring his hate towards blacks.”
Jackson had been staying in a Midtown hotel since arriving in the city on Friday. Police said they are speaking to Jackson’s family and associates in Maryland and are looking into possible social media profiles as they continue to investigate.
He received an honorable discharge from the Army in 2012 as a private, the New York Post reports. Along with his time serving in Afghanistan, Jackson was also stationed in Germany.
Police told the Associated Press Jackson served from March 2009 to August 2012 and was a military intelligence analyst. He was deployed to Afghanistan from December 2010 to November 2011.
Jackson studied at Ohio Wesleyan University in 2007, but it’s not clear if he graduated, the Post reported.
5. Caughman Called Himself a Can, Bottle & Autograph Collector in New York City With Dreams of Visiting California
Timothy Caughman, who appears to have been targeted at random, lived in transitional housing, Praxis Housing Initiatives, on West 36th Street, the New York Daily News reports.
Caughman had an active Twitter profile, where he described himself as a “can and bottle recycler,” and “autograph collector” in New York City. He said he would “love to visit California.”
He has several tweets showing him with celebrities and of the autographs he received from them:
Caughman was a longtime fan of actress Shari Headley, who tweeted about his “senseless” death on Thursday: