New York, United States: A white US army veteran accused of fatally stabbing a 66-year-old homeless black man in New York was charged Thursday with second-degree murder as a hate crime, after telling police he was planning a race-based killing spree.
James Jackson, 28, is also facing a charge of criminal possession of a weapon in connection with Monday night’s incident near the city’s main Port Authority bus terminal.
The attack comes as several major US cities including New York are grappling with an increase in hate crimes.
James Harris Jackson, a white supremacist, travelled to NYC to kill black men. pic.twitter.com/MtwwHB1PR0
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) March 24, 2017
Police say Jackson admitted stabbing Timothy Caughman multiple times near the homeless shelter where the victim lived. Caughman managed to walk two blocks to a police station but was pronounced dead at an area hospital.
Jackson — who served in the US Army from 2009 to 2012, a stint that included a tour of duty in Afghanistan — turned himself in to police in Times Square on Wednesday, according to local media reports.
He told police he considered the killing to be “practice prior to going to Times Square to kill additional black men,” according to the complaint.
It said he was “angered by black men mixing with white women.”
The ex-serviceman told police he had traveled to the city on a bus from his home in Baltimore, about 170 miles (275 kilometers) to the south.
“In general he came here to target male blacks,” Assistant Chief William Aubry, head of the Manhattan detectives’ squad, was quoted as saying.
Jackson came to New York because he wanted to make a statement in the “media capital of the world,” Aubry said.
Police reportedly recovered Jackson’s sword, which had a 18-inch (46-centimeter) blade, after he told them where to find it.
“On Monday evening, an innocent man was stabbed to death in what appears to be an unprovoked attack prompted by the victim’s race,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.
“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,” he said.
“Now it’s our collective responsibility to speak clearly and forcefully in the face of intolerance and violence.”
On Wednesday, the office of Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance launched a promotion called “Too New York To Hate” to encourage victims and witnesses of violence against an ethnic group, community or religion to come forward to testify.