Maryland (Sputnik) – The FBI is assisting Maryland authorities in their investigation of the fatal stabbing of a black Bowie State University student. The suspect is a white University of Maryland student with ties to an extremist online community, and investigators are trying to determine whether the incident qualifies as a hate crime.
Twenty-two-year-old Sean Christopher Urbanski allegedly stabbed and killed 23-year-old Richard Collins III, an Army officer who was three days away from his graduation, in an early morning incident on Saturday that university police chief David Mitchell described as “totally unprovoked.”
Collins had recently been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Army and was a student at Bowie State University, a historically black institution in Maryland. He was standing at a bus stop with friends around 3:00 a.m. local time when police say Urbanski stabbed him in the chest and fled.
Collins was set to graduate from Bowie on Tuesday.
Urbanski has been charged with first and second-degree murder and first degree assault. He was apprehended by Prince George’s County police about 50 feet from where the murder took place.
The FBI was contacted by the University of Maryland after it was discovered that Urbanski belonged to a Facebook group called “Alt-Reich Nation,” where participants often posted racist, sexist and anti-Semitic images and memes.
Mitchell described the now-deleted page to reporters, saying, “When I looked at the information that’s contained on that website, suffice it to say that it’s despicable, it shows extreme bias against women, Latinos, members of the Jewish faith and especially African-Americans.” He added, “Which brings up questions as to the motive in this case. Knowing that we will continue to look for digital evidence, among other items of evidentiary value.”
The Baltimore Sun quoted Collins family spokesman Rev. Darryl L. Godlock speaking to the deceased student’s character, saying, “This was not a thug … This was a very caring individual. He was highly intelligent and he was at the peak of his career. He loved his family, he loved people that he came in contact with, and more importantly he loved his God.”
Friend and fellow Bowie State student Vidal Adams called Collins “the definition of a leader.”
University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh said in a statement that the “horrific assault” has left the school “shocked, saddened, and angered.”
“We must all do more to nurture a climate — on campus and beyond — where we stand against hate, we fight against hate crimes, and we reaffirm the values that define us a university and as a democracy,” Loh said. “As we search for answers to this senseless crime, please continue to keep the family and friends of Lt. Collins, and the BSU community, in your thoughts and prayers. We all grieve together for a promising life ended far too early.”