White army veteran travelled to New York to 'harm black people' before picking man at random and killing him with sword.
A white army veteran travelled to New York with the intention of committing a racist attack before picking out a black man at random and killing him with a sword , police said.
James Harris Jackson told police he left his home in Baltimore on Friday and took the bus to Manhattan "because it is the media capital of the world and he wanted to make a statement."
The 28-year-old chanced upon Timothy Caughman, a black man who was sifting through rubbish bins for recyclables, on a pavement in the Hell's Kitchen neighbourhood, on Monday.
Minutes later, Caughman staggered into a nearby police station, bleeding from stab wounds to his chest and back.
The 66-year-old was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died.
Jackson turned himself in at a police station in Times Square shortly after midnight on Wednesday and was arrested for murder, police said.
He had seen images circulated by police from surveillance cameras showing him at the scene, dressed in a black coat, his blond hair combed to one side, police said.
"He said that 'I'm the person that you're looking for,' and he had knives in his pocket," Bill Aubrey, a deputy chief at the New York Police Department, told reporters.
"It was revealed that the attack on Timothy Caughman was clearly racially motivated. It is believed that he was specifically intending to target male blacks."
Jackson served as a specialist in the US Army until 2012, and was deployed in Afghanistan for nearly a year beginning in December 2010, an Army spokeswoman said.
He was awarded several medals for his conduct.
Jackson remains in police custody awaiting a court appearance.