The suspect, 28-year-old James Harris Jackson, told police he intended to go to Times Square to kill more black men, according to the complaint.
Jackson was arraigned on second-degree murder and weapons charges in Manhattan Criminal Court on Thursday, a day after he turned himself in to police.
Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said in court that the charge may be upped to first-degree murder because it was likely an act of terrorism
, according to a spokesperson for the district attorney's office.
Police said Jackson singled out Timothy Caughman, 66, and stabbed him with a sword multiple times while Caughman was sifting through garbage late Monday night. A bleeding Caughman stumbled to a nearby police substation and was then taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
"The attack was clearly racially motivated," NYPD Assistant Chief Bill Aubry said Wednesday. "It's well over 10 years he has been harboring these feelings of hate towards male blacks."
A witness said Jackson was on top of Caughman, who asked what he was doing, according to the complaint. Surveillance video showed Jackson fleeing the scene, and he turned himself in after he saw photos of himself on the news, police said.
Jackson told police he stalked numerous potential victims and that he was angered by black men mixing with white women, according to the complaint.
He took a bus from Baltimore to New York with a sword and two knives to kill black men, according to the complaint.
"He knew what he was doing when he was coming up here," Aubry said. "We're fortunate it stopped at one and it wasn't more."
Jackson's defense attorney, Sanford Talkin, declined to comment. Saturday, Jackson's relatives sent their condolences to the Caughman family and said they were praying for them.
"Our family is shocked, horrified, and heartbroken by this tragedy," the Jackson family said. "We have no further comments at this time and ask that our privacy be respected."
Caughman was a "can and bottle recycler" and an "autograph collector," according to his Twitter description. His account includes a number of selfies with celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey
, Maria Menounos
and Michael K. Williams
Last Election Day, he posted a photo of himself standing in line waiting to vote. "I love America," he wrote
"We know him to be a good man," said Jean Paul Chatham, who lives in the same neighborhood as Caughman. "He did not trouble anyone."
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement he was appalled by the killing.
"In New York, no one should feel unsafe for who they are, and this despicable attack on one New Yorker is an attack on all New Yorkers," he said.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio offered a similar sentiment.
"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," de Blasio said in a statement.