WASHINGTON – The white University of Maryland student suspected of killing a newly commissioned black Army officer on the College Park campus over the weekend was ordered held without bond during a court appearance Monday afternoon, while the FBI investigates the stabbing as a possible hate crime.
Sean Christopher Urbanski, 22, was charged with murder and assault in the killing of Richard Collins III, 23.
Collins was set to graduate from nearby Bowie State University in Bowie, Md. on Tuesday with a degree in business administration. He recently has been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army through the ROTC and was to serve in intelligence.
The University of Maryland Police initially said that the attack was random and that the two men did not know each other. But the campus police sought the FBI’s assistance after learning Urbanski is a member of a Facebook group called “Alt-Reich Nation.”
“Suffice to say, it’s despicable. It shows extreme bias against women, latinos, members of the Jewish faith, and especially African-Americans — which brings up questions of the motive in the case,” Mitchell said of the Facebook page at a news conference Sunday night.
“We are here to evaluate that as an ongoing concern with respect to whether or not this was a hate crime,” Gordon Johnson, the special agent in charge of the FBI field office in nearby Baltimore, said at the news conference. He called Collins a “national treasure,” and urged people to remember the lieutenant and his family.
Collins was waiting for an Uber with friends at about 3 a.m. Saturday when Urbanski approached them, police said.
“Step left, step left if you know what’s best for you,” witnesses told police Urbanski said.
After Collins reportedly replied “no,” Urbanski pulled out a knife and stabbed him once in the chest, police said.
Police quickly apprehended Urbanski about 50 feet away. Collins died at a hospital about an hour after he was stabbed.
Both universities have reacted with shock – and fear. Police have stepped up patrols on and around the College Park campus.
“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,” a visibly emotional Chief Mitchell said Sunday.
A noose was found in a College Park fraternity house on April 27. Campus police are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
A vigil for Collins was scheduled for Monday evening on the Bowie campus. The historically black institution’s graduation on Tuesday is being held on University of Maryland’s College Park campus. At Sunday’s commencement, College Park President Wallace Loh held a moment of silence for Collins.