A truly horrific crime took place in Manhattan Monday night. At about 11 p.m., Timothy Caughman, described by those who knew him as a kind and generous man with a penchant for recycling, was looking for cans when he was approached by a James Harris Jackson, a 20-something man with a sword. The two allegedly argued, and then the younger man fatally stabbed 66-year-old Caughman, who was black. Now Harris Jackson, a white man who claims to hate black men, has taken responsibility for what's considered to be a hate crime.
Police arrested the 28-year-old suspect just after midnight Wednesday, the New York Times reported. The crime is being investigated as racially motivated. The suspect has thus far been charged with second-degree murder, but Assistant Chief William Aubry told reporters that the NYPD wants the charges upgraded to a hate crime.
The suspect turned himself in, walking into a police station in Times Square. "I’m the person you’re looking for," he reportedly told the officers present at the time. He had seen himself in security footage that had been shared on the nightly news Tuesday, the Times reported.
The prosecutor in the case described the act as alleged "terrorism."
From Baltimore, the suspect allegedly told police that he decided to travel to New York City because it's the "media capital of the world." CNN reported that he supposedly wanted to make a statement, which fits with his choice of Times Square.
Following the horrific event, police found two knives on the suspect's body and were able to recover the sword that he had allegedly stabbed Caughman with. The Times reported that a manifesto had also been recovered explaining his "desire and plans." He had allegedly planned to deliver it to the paper.
The suspect was also a veteran, having been deployed to Afghanistan until 2011. Then, he reportedly spent time at an army base in Germany before returning to the United States.
Bill de Blasio on the fatal stabbing of Timothy Caughman on Monday: pic.twitter.com/ThspGCaBjg— Ciara McCarthy (@mccarthy_ciara) March 22, 2017
Whatever the disturbing motivation behind the attack, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the attack went against the city's values. "More than an unspeakable human tragedy, this is an assault on what makes this the greatest city in the world: our inclusiveness and our diversity," de Blasio said in a statement Wednesday.
Police also say they're fortunate that more people weren't killed. "He knew what he was doing when he was coming up here," Aubry told reporters Wednesday of the suspect. "We're fortunate it stopped at one and it wasn't more."
Surveillance video showed the suspect following around another black man before the attack on Caughman. The suspect ultimately left the other man alone.