He allegedly stabbed Caughman, a black man who reportedly lived in nearby transitional housing for HIV/AIDS patients, twice near the intersection of West 36th Street and 9th Avenue.
Aubrey said Wednesday that the NYPD is "working with" the Manhattan DA's office to upgrade the charge to a hate crime.
Interviews with Jackson and other evidence revealed that he had harbored feelings of racially animosity toward black men for "well over ten years", Aubry said.
Witnesses near the scene recalled Jackson and Caughman arguing before the assault took place, with the latter individual purportedly screaming, "What are you doing?"
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Jackson told police he left Baltimore Friday and traveled to New York City by bus "because it is the media capital of the world and he wanted to make a statement", Bill Aubrey, a deputy chief at the New York Police Department, told reporters.
Officers searched the man, whose name has not been released, and found two knives on him, according to the police sources.
New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito released a statement connecting Jackson's arrest with a rise in hate crimes following the election of President Donald Trump. At one point, he appeared to walk purposefully toward a black man, but there was no attack, they said. It was unclear when he might get a lawyer who could comment on his case. A call to his family's home rang unanswered. He had been informally managing the building on behalf of its then-owner and took Jackson to court over the rent. Aubry said Jackson apparently served in the military in Afghanistan, although he didn't provide details of the Maryland man's deployment. Jackson left behind a collection of war movies in the apartment, the former neighbor said.
It's not immediately clear whether Jackson has an attorney.
Jackson chose to target NY, which he considered the media capital of the world, to "make a statement", according Aubrey.