By Patrick Donachie
A Baltimore man was arrested and charged with killing a man who grew up in Jamaica, authorities said.
The suspect allegedly traveled to New York City for the express purpose of killing black men as a part of a racist agenda, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance. James Jackson, 28, of Baltimore, was charged with murder in the first degree and murder as an act of terrorism, a classification not often used in city criminal courts, the DA said.
On March 20 at about 11:25 p.m., Timothy Caughman, 66, walked into the Midtown South Precinct at 357 West 35th St., and officers realized he had been stabbed in the chest and back. EMS officials arrived and brought him to Bellevue Hospital, where he died, police said.
Police learned that Jackson allegedly approached Caughman, and after a dispute, stabbed him in front of 462 9th Ave. before fleeing the scene. Police released a photo and video of Jackson, who surrendered to authorities. Vance said Jackson had traveled from Baltimore to New York and walked the streets for three days, seeking a black person he could assassinate. Vance said he randomly selected Caughman on the basis of his skin color before repeatedly stabbing him.
“James Jackson wanted to kill black men, planned to kill black men, and then did kill a black man. He chose Midtown as his crime scene because Manhattan is the media capital of the world, and a place where people of different races live together and love one another,” Vance said. “We must never take for granted New York’s remarkable diversity. We must celebrate it, protect it, and refuse to let violence and hate undermine the progress we have made as a city, a state and a nation.”
Caughman was born in Jamaica, Queens and grew up in an apartment in the South Jamaica Houses, according to the New York Times. The paper reported that Caughman had worked at a variety of jobs and had also run a division of the Neighborhood Youth Corps, a federal program which helps provide part-time employment for young men and women. He was living in Manhattan at the time he was murdered.
“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,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “Now it’s our collective responsibility to speak clearly and forcefully in the face of intolerance and violence – here or across the country. 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.”
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona