BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood came together to send a message of inclusion after one of their white neighbors is charged with killing a black man in New York City.
The suspect told police he had been targeting black men.
Devin Bartolotta reports on the vigil that took an unexpected turn.
The vigil quickly boiled over from an uplifting ceremony to a shouting match about race in Hampden. All of it happened just steps away from the home of a Baltimore man now accused of a hate crime.
Hampden residents honored 66-year-old Timothy Caughman, who was murdered in New York City earlier this week.
“And to honor someone we didn’t know, is just another reminder that our humanity is shared across state lines,” said Jim Muratore of St. Luke’s Church.
The murder suspect is 28-year-old James Jackson, a Hampden resident who traveled to New York “for the purpose of killing black men.”
Police say he stabbed Caughman to death with a sword.
“I think that it’s amazing that all these people come out to express how they feel about a person just like them doing such a horrible thing,” said Baltimore resident Sylena Christian.
The vigil at St. Luke’s was meant to show the horrifying crime is not a reflection of the community.
“Part of me is horrified, but I also feel like we can’t be surprised when white men of privilege kill,” Deirdre Russo said.
At an event aimed to put an end to hatred in Hampden, anger took center stage.
“There is something about hampden that racist people feel comfortable here,” Megan Kenny said.
The calm gathering boiled over into a fierce exchange about white privilege and met with bold hecklers.
Only a handful of African-Americans were in attendance. Ralph Moore agrees that there’s work to be done.
“It seems at this moment in our time, in our history, that hate seems to have a new lease on life. And people who are hate-filled seem to feel freer to express that,” Moore said.
Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke spoke Saturday as well. She says Baltimore should send its condolences up the road to New York City.
The suspect in this murder, James Jackson, is being charged with murder and possible hate crimes in Manhattan.