New York police say a 28-year-old white man from Baltimore, from the southern U.S. state of Maryland, traveled to New York City last week to engage in a killing spree on African American men.
James Jackson allegedly chose to kill in New York because he thought he would received the maximum amount of media coverage there. However, he stopped after killing just one man -- 66-year-old Timothy Caughman.
Jackson killed Caughman with a sword Monday and went to a police station Wednesday to confess.
He was charged with murder as a hate crime Thursday and is being held without bail.
"The defendant was motivated purely by hatred," said prosecutor Joan Illuzzi. "His intent was to kill as many black men here in New York as he could." She said the charges could be upgraded to an act of terrorism.
The New York Times quoted an anonymous law enforcement official as saying Jackson told the police he has hated black men since he was a kid. "I've had these feelings since I was a young person. I hate black men," he reportedly said.
Prosecutors say Jackson was particularly offended by black men who dated white women.
Jackson's lawyer, said his client has "obvious psychological issues."
Jackson was a 2007 graduate of the Friends School of Baltimore, a private co-educational Quaker school founded in 1784, serving students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. He served in the Army from 2009 to 2012, working in military intelligence. He was deployed to Afghanistan between December 2010 to November 2011.
Jackson's family in Baltimore issued a statement saying, "Our family is shocked, horrified and heartbroken by this tragedy. We extend our prayers and condolences to the family of Timothy Caughman."
Caughman, who was retired, was reportedly rummaging through trash to collect bottles and cans for recycling when Jackson attacked him with the sword.