The Motive Question

Via The Baltimore Sun:

Authorities are investigating whether the stabbing death of a black college student who was visiting the University of Maryland during graduation weekend was a hate crime.

The chief of the university police said Sunday the suspect, a white University of Maryland student, is a member of a racist Facebook group. An FBI official said the federal agency will assist with the investigation.

The victim, identified by police Sunday as Richard Collins III, was due to graduate from Bowie State University this week. The Calvert County man had completed ROTC in college and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army on Thursday, according to school officials and a family spokesman. He was 23.

Police have charged Sean Christoper Urbanski (pictured above), 22, of Severna Park with first-degree murder in the attack. He was being held without bail.

Artie Lee Travis, Bowie State’s vice president for student affairs, said the campus is in mourning.

“We are looking forward to the quickest investigation as possible,” he said. “Hate has no place in America. Hate has no place on a college campus where young minds are coming together to try to change the world.”

The Rev. Darryl L. Godlock, serving as a spokesman for the Collins family, said the young man had obtained his airborne certification. Collins wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, a military veteran, Godlock said.

“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.”

Godlock said Collins was close to his family.

“This was not a thug,” Godlock said. “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.”

Collins was a vibrant, funny and outgoing student whose ambition rubbed off on his friends, said Vidal Adams, a fellow Bowie State student and friend. Collins talked about wanting to travel the world and go skydiving and surfing, he said.

“He wanted to be a general of the United States Army, that was his ultimate goal,” said Adams, a senior criminal justice major. “He was the definition of a leader. I can’t really say the same about a lot of people.”

Collins was waiting with two other students for an Uber ride outside the Montgomery Hall dormitory on Regents Drive near U.S. 1 at about 3 a.m. Saturday when he was attacked.

The stabbing was captured by a surveillance camera, police said. They called it unprovoked.

Witnesses said the suspect was intoxicated and incoherent at the time of the attack, police said. Police have said the victim and suspect did not know each other.

Officers called to the scene found Collins wounded on the sidewalk, police said. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Urbanski was arrested at the scene, police said. Officers recovered a folding knife, police said.

 

Police said initially there was no indication that race played a role. But University Police Chief David Mitchell said information about the Facebook group was brought to their attention on Sunday.

The group, called “Alt-Reich Nation,” contained racist posts, he said.

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