Friends, family and dignitaries gathered Saturday at a standing-room-only funeral for a man who was stabbed to death by a sword-wielding attacker in an apparent race-fueled crime.
Timothy Caughman, 66, was alone and collecting bottles for recycling March 20 when he was attacked from behind with a sword. He staggered, bleeding, into a police station and later died at a hospital.
Police say his attacker was a white supremacist who came to New York City from Baltimore intending to kill a black man.
James Harris Jackson, 28, faces charges of murder as an act of terrorism and murder as a hate crime.
"Don't think for a moment it was an attack on one stray man," Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the service at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Queens. "Because it was an attack on all of us."
Childhood friend Dwayne Holmes said it was still difficult to comprehend the way Caughman was killed.
"He was a decent human being...not just a nobody," Holmes said, his eyes filling with tears.
Caughman, whose nickname was "Hard Rock," loved family, helped others and never shied away from a conversation, loved ones said.
"He was a really good man and he was always trying to make people feel better," said Khadijah Peek, a second cousin.
Peek continued: "We can only learn from this situation and we have to fight that hate."
Others lamented that some media outlets had originally mischaracterized their friend as homeless.
"He never would have been homeless, not with the family on both sides that he had," said Charles Johnson, who said he met Caughman as a 3-year-old boy. "As far as his bottles, collecting cans, he was doing that with a purpose."
With the coins he received in exchange for the recyclables, Caughman would buy Amtrak tickets to Washington, D.C., where he would attend congressional hearings and strike up conversations in the Capitol's cafeteria.