FBI investigates possible hate crime in student's fatal stabbing
The FBI is investigating whether the fatal stabbing of a visiting black student by a white University of Maryland student is a hate crime.
Sean Christopher Urbanski, 22, was charged Sunday with first- and second-degree murder and first-degree assault in the stabbing death of Richard Collins III, 23.
Collins, a Bowie State University student, was visiting the University of Maryland campus early Saturday morning when police believe Urbanski approached him while Collins was standing at a campus bus stop with two friends.
Authorities said Urbanski, of Severna Park, Md., walked up to Collins and then stabbed him in the chest. According to charging documents, Urbanski told Collins, "Step left, step left, if you know what's best for you."
According to the documents, Collins replied, "No," and was stabbed.
A friend of Collins' ran and called 911. University of Maryland police found Collins with serious injuries. Collins was taken to the hospital, where he died.
University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell said he asked the FBI to assist in the investigation after learning the suspect belonged to a Facebook group called "Alt-Reich: Nation," where members post disparaging material about African Americans and others.
"We are here to evaluate that as an ongoing concern with respect to whether or not this was a hate crime," said Gordon Johnson, special agent in charge of the FBI field office in Baltimore.
Collins, of Owings, Md., was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army days before the attack. He was scheduled to graduate from Bowie State on Tuesday.
On Saturday, before Collins and Urbanski were identified, police said the victim and suspect did not know each other. Police said it was a random attack that was unprovoked by the victim.
No attorney was listed for Urbanski in online court records and a message left Sunday at a number listed for his home was not immediately returned.
Mitchell, the police chief, said the attack has spread fear across the university.
"If I'm a person of color I would certainly look at this as something that could happen to me. In fact, I know on Facebook our students are saying that," Mitchell said.
Dr. Artie Lee Travis, vice president for student affairs at Bowie State in Bowie, Md., said the school hopes the investigation moves forward as quickly as possible.
"Hate has no place in America," Travis said. "Hate has no place on a college campus, where young minds are coming together to try to change the world," he said.
During commencement ceremonies Sunday, University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh, led those gathered in a moment of silence for Collins.
"I would like to ask all of you to join me and all Terps everywhere ... to join us in a moment of silence to mourn and to honor a young man, a Bowie State University student, who lost his life in a senseless and unprovoked assault on our campus yesterday morning."