James Harris Jackson, the 28-year-old man suspected of fatally stabbing a 66-year-old man in midtown on Monday night, took a Bolt Bus from Baltimore, Maryland to NYC last Friday with the explicit intention of harming black men, according to Manhattan Chief of Detectives William Aubry.
"He picked New York because it's the media capital of the world and he wanted to make a statement," Aubry told reporters during an unrelated press conference on Wednesday.
Aubry did not confirm reports that Jackson is a member of a Maryland-based hate group and has written a manifesto on his hatred of black people. Nor that he surrendered to stop himself from attacking an interracial couple. But Aubry insisted that a preliminary investigation, and initial interviews with Jackson, suggest the attack was racially motivated.
"He was specifically intending to target male blacks for assault," Aubry said. "He has been harboring these types of feelings for quite some time. For well over ten years."
Police believe Jackson killed 66-year-old Timothy Caughman just before 11:30 p.m. on Monday. He allegedly stabbed Caughman, a black man who reportedly lived in nearby transitional housing for HIV/AIDS patients, near the intersection of West 36th Street and 9th Avenue. Caughman walked to the Midtown South Precinct to report that he had been stabbed, and died at Bellevue Hospital around 1:00 a.m.
Jackson spent the weekend leading up to the murder at a Midtown hotel. According to the police, surveillance footage shows him "walking in circles through Midtown" before attacking Caughman. "He was roaming through the streets," Aubry said. "Our victim happened to be going through garbage on the sidewalk. There happened to be no one else around."
Standing on line waiting to vote I love america pic.twitter.com/jVAeLXtUAq
— timothy caughman (@timrock715) November 8, 2016
Jackson, a Baltimore, Maryland resident, turned himself in at the Times Square police station shortly after midnight this morning. He told police, "I'm the person you're looking for," and revealed knives in his pockets, according to the NYPD. Aubry said police discovered a 26-inch black "mini-sword," which they believe to be the murder weapon.
NYPD officers are currently in Maryland interviewing Jackson's family and associates.
According to Aubry, Jackson decided to turn himself in after seeing media reports about himself. "He saw himself on the news, so I have to thank the media," Aubry said.
Jackson, who cops say served in the US military in Afghanistan, has been preliminarily charged with second-degree murder, but has yet to be arraigned. Aubry said Wednesday that the NYPD is "working with" the Manhattan DA's office to upgrade the charge to a hate crime.
"Bias-based violence and discrimination have no place in New York City," said Seth Hoy, a spokesman for the New York City Commission on Human Rights. "If you are the victim of a crime, call 911. If you experience or witness acts of discrimination, call 311 and ask for Human Rights or call the Commission directly at 718-722-3131."
[Update 3:45]: City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito called Jackson a white supremacist in a statement Wednesday, tying the alleged murder back to "the repulsive rhetoric and polarizing actions that have come out of this Presidential Administration."
The rhetoric and acts "are appalling and have only served to empower the ugly underbelly of racism that still exists in our country," she said.