An Army veteran who allegedly killed a black man on the street in New York City has reportedly been charged with murder as a hate crime.
James Harris Jackson, 28, allegedly fatally stabbed Timothy Caughman, 66, with a sword while the older man was collecting bottles from trash cans, The Associated Press reports. Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi said that Jackson had traveled from his home in Baltimore with the intention of killing black men in New York.
"His intent was to kill as many black men here in New York as he could," Illuzzi said. "The defendant was motivated purely by hatred."
Illuzzi said that Jackson was especially angry about black men dating white women. She added that Jackson's charges could be increased because Caughman's killing was "most likely an act of terrorism."
Jackson turned himself in after seeing his photo on the news, The New York Times reports. "I'm the person you're looking for," Assistant Police Chief William Aubry said Jackson told police after walking into a substation in Times Square.
Jackson reportedly told police where he had thrown out the 26-inch sword, which officers found in a trash can. He also revealed that he had knives in his pocket.
"He was very forthcoming with us," Aubry said. "He knew what he was doing when he was coming up here, and he relayed all of that information to us."
"We’re very fortunate that it stopped at one, and it wasn't more," added Aubry.
Surveillance footage reportedly showed Jackson following another black man in midtown Manhattan before Caughman's death, but police said that he didn't do anything to that man.
Jackson, who served in the Army from 2009 to 2012 as an intelligence analyst, reportedly told officers that he had hated black men for at least 10 years.
Defense attorney Sam Talkin said that Jackson may be suffering from mental illness. "What we're going to do is take a few minutes, let the dust settle and figure out what the facts are," Talkin said.
"If the facts are anything near what the allegations are, then we're going to address the obvious psychological issues that are present in this case," said Talkin.
Caughman, who lived in a homeless shelter in the city, was a recycler and autograph collector, according to his Twitter bio. He shared tweets about Chuck Berry and Autism Awareness Day before his death.
"More than an an unspeakable human tragedy, this is an assault on what makes this the greatest city in the world: our inclusiveness and our diversity," said New York Mayor Bill De Blasio in condemning the murder.