A black ROTC cadet set to graduate from Bowie State University this week was stabbed to death by a white University of Maryland student who’s a member of a racist online hate group, the Baltimore Sun reports.
Richard Collins III, 23, was visiting UMD this graduation weekend when he was attacked by Christoper Sean Urbanski, 22. Collins and two friends were awaiting an Uber ride around 3 a.m. Saturday morning when an “intoxicated and incoherent” Urbanski stabbed him. Authorities who reviewed videotape of the incident described the attack as unprovoked.
Police charged Urbanski, a member of the Facebook group, “Alt-Reich Nation,” with first-degree murder Sunday. The FBI is investigating the stabbing as a possible hate crime.
“Making a determination of motive especially if it’s a crime based on hate it’s something that has to be done with the totality of the circumstances,” FBI Special Agent Gordon Johnson told ABC News. Johnson also described the victim as a “national treasure.”
“This is a terribly, terribly dark time for [the family], and we can’t forget about that,” Johnson said.
Family spokesman, the Rev. Darryl L Godlock, said Collins will be remembered as a bright and funny family man who hoped to follow his veteran father’s footsteps. Last Thursday, Collins was commissioned into the Army as a second Lieutenant. He was set to graduate from Bowie State on Tuesday.
“He wanted to make his parents proud of him so he went into the military to serve his country,” Godlock said. “It was a great opportunity for him to advance forward and make the most out of his career.”
“[Collins] wanted to be a general of the United States Army, that was his ultimate goal,” friend and classmate Vidal Adams said. “He was the definition of a leader.”
Police originally said there was no indication race played a role in Collins’ murder, but University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell told the Root they’re investigating the Facebook group “Alt-Reich Nation,” of which Urbanski was a member.
“When I look at the information that’s contained on that website, suffice it to say that it’s despicable, it shows extreme bias against women, Latinos, persons of Jewish faith and especially African-Americans,” Mitchell said at a press conference Saturday.
“It never gets any worse than this,” Mitchell added. “When I sat with the victim’s father, who is a military veteran, and his pastor and we shed tears together.”
“I can tell you, it rips your heart out,” he concluded.
A funeral for Collins will be held Monday.
Watch the local news coverage below, via WMAR Baltimore: