A 28-year-old man who said he came to New York to kill black people faces terrorism- and hate crime-related murder charges in the fatal stabbing death of Timothy Caughman, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. announced Monday.
James Harris Jackson told police he was targeting black men and said he viewed stabbing Caughman as a “practice” run for more killings in Times Square, according to a criminal complaint.
“James Jackson prowled the streets of New York for three days in search of a black person to assassinate in order to launch a campaign of terrorism against our Manhattan community and the values we celebrate,” Vance said in a statement.
Vance said that Jackson chose Caughman at random and stabbed him repeatedly and publicly solely on the basis of his skin color.
Jackson was charged with murder as an act of terrorism in the first and second degrees, murder in the second degree as a hate crime, and three counts of criminal possession of a weapon. Jackson’s attorney declined to comment.
When asked to address the case in Monday’s White House press briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer said he does not know all of the details and would not reference any specific case.
“Hate crimes and anti-Semitic crimes of any nature should be called out in the most reprehensible way,” he said. “There is no room for that in our country.”
Spicer said that there has also been a rush to judgment in some recent cases of anti-Semitic incidents, and that judgment should be “equally called out.”
Alluding to the arrest of a Jewish teenager in connection with a series of bomb threats on Jewish centers, he said that “President Trump was right” in assuming the culprits were not right-wing extremists, and that “a lot of folks on the left” should be held accountable for suggesting that.