On Saturday, May 20, Richard Collins III was visiting friends at University of Maryland, when Sean Christopher Urbanksi stabbed him in the chest. Evidence surfaced of Urbanski's involvement in an online hate-group; the FBI is to determine if incident was a hate crime.

On Saturday, May 20, around 3 a.m., Richard Collins III and two friends were standing at a bus stop on Regents Drive near Montgomery Hall. At a news conference Sunday evening, University Police Chief David Mitchell discussed witness accounts. According to witnesses, Sean Christopher Urbanski began shouting at Collins upon his approach. One witness said that Collins shouted, "'step left, step left if you know what's good for you." Before Collins could understand or respond with anything other than "no," Urbanski drew a knife and stabbed him in the chest. Urbanski then fled the scene. Prince George's County Police identified and apprehended Urbanski, sitting 50 feet away on a bench on Regents Drive. The charges against Urbanski include first and second degree murder as well as first degree assault. The judge refused to set bond. Collins died of his injuries at Prince George's Hospital's Trauma Center.

A Hate Crime?

The FBI will help determine whether or not the murder is investigated as a hate crime. Collins, a 23-year-old black student at historically black Bowie State University, was simply standing on the sidewalk when the attack occured. Urbanski, as later discovered, belonged to a hate-group Facebook group called "Alt-Reich Nation." According to Urban Dictionary, the word "Alt-Reich" is a reference to the German word "Altreich" which referred to the "old empire" of Germany before WW1. As referenced in the Urban Dictionary post, some suspect the group name refers to "Alt-Right," the named adopted by a group of white nationalists who have become more active in the past year. It was Urbanski's involvement with this group that prompted investigators to consider the murder a hate crime. During Sunday's press conference Police Chief David Mitchell said he looked at the group:
“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.”

An Army Lieutenant's life and cut short because of racial bias?

Richard Collins III, a newly commissioned second Lieutenant of the United States Army, had a promising military career. On Tuesday, May 23, Richard Collins III would have walked across stage at Bowie State's graduation ceremony. Instead of celebrating his graduation, Collins' family now must preside over memorial service preparations. Bowie State University President Mickey L. Burnim wrote:
"Let's remember our words and actions have the power to heal and the power to hurt. Let's strive to use our actions to bring comfort and peace... When tragedies happen, they can either bring communities together or tear them apart. I sincerely hope that in the days to come, the Bowie State University community can find a way to come together, lift each other up, and remember the one who we've lost."
 A candlelight vigil took place on Monday, May 22.
https://twitter.com/BowieState/status/866631229285818368 A solemn remembrance remained throughout the graduation ceremony at Bowie State on Tuesday, May 23: [caption id="attachment_1700" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Photo by: Neal Augustein[/caption]

Does University of Maryland have a larger issue to address?

While this is the first homicide on University of Maryland campus in decades, it would not be the University's only racial-bias related incident within the past year. To many, this murder is a frightening reminder of the racial tension plaguing college campuses across the country. To officials, administration, and students, it should be a call to action to address racial prejudice and hate on campus. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.

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