On Sunday, University of Maryland police chief David Mitchell announced that the FBI had been called on to assist in the investigation of the murder of black visiting student Richard Collins III as a hate crime. Mitchell’s suspected killer Sean Urbanski, who has been charged with first and second degree murder and first degree assault, is a member of a racist Facebook group called Alt-Reich Nation.
Collins was killed after being approached by Urbanski while waiting for an Uber with two other students. From the Baltimore Sun:
Collins’ friends told police they heard the suspect scream as he approached them.
The suspect said “Step left, step left if you know what’s best for you,” police wrote in charging documents. Collins said “no,” police wrote. The suspect continued to approach, and stabbed him once in the chest.
According to the Sun, witnesses have said that Urbaski, a University of Maryland student, appeared intoxicated at the time of the attack. The Sun also reports that a few overtly racist events have occurred at the University of Maryland this year. “A noose was found in a fraternity house earlier this month,” the Sun’s Carrie Wells writes, “and posters promoting nationalism were found on campus earlier this year.”
Mitchell asked for the FBI’s help after discovering Urbanski’s Facebook group, which was taken down on Sunday. From Buzzfeed:
“When I looked at the information that’s contained on that website, suffice to say that it’s despicable. It shows extreme bias against women, Latinos, members of the Jewish faith, and especially African-Americans,” Mitchell said at a press conference. “Which brings up questions as to the motive in this case. Knowing that, we will continue to look for digital evidence, among other items of evidentiary value.”
Collins was due to graduate from Bowie State University on Tuesday. He was 23 and had just been commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army.