NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A man who turned himself in to police following a deadly stabbing in Midtown Manhattan told police he came to New York from Maryland to target black men, authorities said.
The suspect, identified as 28-year-old military veteran James Harris Jackson from Baltimore, surrendered just after midnight Wednesday after seeing himself on the news. He walked into the Times Square police substation, telling officers, “I’m the person that you’re looking for.”
Jackson is charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of 66-year-old Timothy Caughman. Police said Caughman was going through the trash when he was randomly attacked Monday night.
Police believe Jackson traveled to New York specifically intending to target black men. They said he arrived in the city on a BoltBus Friday and had been staying at a hotel in Midtown.
“His intentions were to come here to harm male blacks,” NYPD Chief of Manhattan Detectives William Aubry said. “The reason why he picked New York is because it’s the media capital of the world, and he wanted to make a statement.”
“He knew what he was doing when he was coming up here,” Aubry added.
It appears Jackson has been harboring feelings of hatred toward black men for at least 10 years, Aubry said, adding that Monday’s deadly attack was “clearly racially motivated.”
At a news conference, the NYPD showed off a 26-inch mini-sword that they say was used in the fatal attack. Police say Jackson told them where they could find the murder weapon.
The suspect was caught on surveillance video running down the street after the stabbing Monday night.
Police said a witness saw the suspect talking with the victim on Ninth Avenue around 11:30 p.m. The suspect then got on top of Caughman who asked him what he was doing, CBS2’s Emily Smith reported. The witness asked the victim if he needed help, but got no response.
Instead, Caughman walked into the Midtown South police substation with stab wounds to the chest and back. He was taken to NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue where he later died.
After the attack, Jackson went to the bathroom of a nearby restaurant and washed off the blood from the killing, authorities said.
A nearby business owner was greeted by a crime scene when he arrived at his restaurant Tuesday morning.
“Unbelievable, a hate crime,” Massimo Badadalamenti told CBS2’s Erin Logan. “Thank God he’s off the streets.”
Authorities say the victim lived at the Barbour Hotel, which houses homeless people. He was seen at the hotel 45 minutes before the alleged stabbing.
Caughman’s neighbor at the hotel was stunned hearing the reason the suspect gave for the brutal attack.
“For that of all reasons,” Michael Shakur said, “because he was black.”
According to his Twitter page, Caughman 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.
Shakur says certain memories of his late neighbor make him smile.
“He didn’t stay still long enough because he was collecting his cans,” he said. “Collecting cans and taking pictures of celebrities like Oprah Winfrey.”
It does not appear that there are more victims.
“He did not attack anybody else as far as we know right now but the thought was there,” Aubry said. “We’re very fortunate that it stopped at one and it wasn’t more.”
Investigators said they believed Jackson was considering other attacks. but surrendered after noticing his photo in media reports.
A former neighbor who tangled with Jackson over an apartment in Baltimore recalled him as “a piece of work” who fell months behind on rent.
“He’s just one of those people that you wish you never met,” said Marcus Dagan, who had been informally managing the building on behalf of its then-owner and took Jackson to court over the rent.
Dagan said Jackson moved out in 2015 without paying.
When Jackson moved in in 2014, he indicated he was a military veteran and was in college, studying toward becoming a lawyer, Dagan said. Jackson left behind a collection of war movies in the apartment, the former neighbor said.
Jackson was in the Army from March 2009 to August 2012 and worked as a military intelligence analyst, the Army said. Deployed in Afghanistan from December 2010 to November 2011, he earned several medals and attained the rank of specialist.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)