Richard Collins III, 23, a black student of Bowie State University and a 2nd lieutenant of the U.S. Army, was stabbed to death on May 20. A white University of Maryland student who belongs to a racist Facebook group has been charged with the crime, reports CNN. Collins III was scheduled to graduate from Bowie State University today.
Neal Augenstein, a reporter for WTOP-FM, tweeted a photo of Collins III’s graduation gown draped over a chair in the Xfinity center, in which Bowie State University’s Class of 2017 graduated.
Richard Collins III's graduation gown draped over front row chairs at Bowie State University ceremony. He was murdered Saturday. pic.twitter.com/dq7CsBzpLl— Neal Augenstein (@AugensteinWTOP) May 23, 2017
On May 20, Collins III and his friends were approached on the University of Maryland campus at 3 a.m. by Sean Christopher Urbanski, a 22-year-old University of Maryland student, according to police. Witnesses say Urbanski yelled at Collins III, threatened him, and stabbed him in the chest.
According to NBC 4 News, Chief David Mitchell of the University of Maryland police department deemed the attack on Collins III “totally unprovoked.”
Charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and first-degree assault have been brought against Urbanski, whose attorney has stated that Urbanksi was under the influence of alcohol when he killed Collins III. Urbanski was a member of the now-defunct Facebook group “Alt-Reich: Nation,” on which there are expressions of hatred against Jews, women, and people of color.
Angela D. Alsobrooks, Maryland’s state attorney, is hesitant to call Collins III’s death a hate crime until after the homicide investigation into his death is completed. If his death is deemed a hate crime, Urbanski may be prosecuted in federal court.
For the Baltimore City Paper, Lisa Snowden-McCray, a black columnist, wrote:
“The death of 23-year-old Richard Collins III was what we feared when Donald Trump was elected this past November … We knew that racists who have already been allowed to nurture and grow their hate, would be even more emboldened by a Trump White House. We knew that people were going to die as a direct response to his election.”
On May 22, Bowie State University held an on-campus candlelight vigil for Collins III.
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