James Harris Jackson was arrested on murder charges yesterday after he fatally stabbed a stranger in an encounter on the streets of New York City. His disturbing confession to police revealed that he traveled from Maryland to NYC specifically to kill black people.
According to the Washington Post, Jackson had long harbored intense racial hatred, and his murderous trip to Manhattan was intended to send a message. “The reason why he picked New York is ’cause it’s the media capital of the world,” said William Aubry, assistant chief of the New York City Police Department. “And he wanted to make a statement.”
Jackson stabbed 66-year-old Timothy Caughman on Monday night. Caughman attempted to go to the police for help, and died in Bellevue hospital of injuries shortly thereafter. Jackson turned himself in 24 hours later. “I’m the person you’re looking for,” Jackson had said.
Jackson had carried a 26-inch "mini-sword" on him, which they suspected was the murder weapon. He was described as a Baltimore military veteran. Specifcally, he worked as a military intelligence analyst and left the service in August 2012 with the rank of specialist. He had traveled from his hometown and stayed in a hotel, wandering the city throughout the day.
“Based on statements that he made as well as a preliminary review of video, it reveals that the attack on Timothy Caughman was clearly racially motivated,” Aubry added. Jackson “was specifically intending to target male blacks for assault.” The choice of Jackson as the specific black male victim appears to have been random.
Mayor Bill De Blasio issued a statement on the horrific crime and described the murder as “more than an unspeakable human tragedy” and an assault on the city’s “inclusiveness and our diversity.”
"Now it’s our collective responsibility to speak clearly and forcefully in the face of intolerance and violence — here or across the country,” he said. “We are a safe city because we are inclusive. We are a nation of unrivaled strength because we are diverse. No act of violence can undermine who we are.”
Melissa Mark-Viverito, speaker of the New York City Council described Jackson as a white supremecist and linked the incident to a the post-election spike in hate-crimes. She noted President Donald Trump's divisive rhetoric and actions as a contributing factor in this crime wave.
The New York Post notes that Jackson admitted to having a racist manifesto on his computer, but police will need a warrant to search his electronic devices.
New York City police commissioner James P. O’Neill described the situation as “extremely distressing."