The assailant, a white University of Maryland student was charged Sunday with stabbing a black newly commissioned US Army lieutenant to death. Authorities said Sunday that they are now evaluating whether the incident was a possible hate crime
The attacker, Sean Urbanski, 22, stormed toward the victim bellowing, “Step left, step left if you know what’s good for you,” UM Police Chief David Mitchell said of the attack during a media briefing Sunday evening.
The victim, freshly commissioned intelligence officer, 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III, defiantly said, “No,” Mitchell said, citing witnesses.
Police believe Urbanski, from Severna Park, then drove a knife into the 23-year-old victim’s chest during the 3 a.m. encounter on the College Park campus, ultimately killing him.
Collins and his two friends reportedly, were waiting for an Uber ride at an on-campus bus stop, prior to the attack.
Victim: 2nd. Lt. Richard Collins was visiting the Maryland campus from Bowie State University. He was commissioned on Thursday and was slated to graduate with a business degree on Tuesday. He was fatally stabbed on Saturday at the UMUC campus
Alleged killer, Sean Urbanski, [center], a student of UMD is being linked with a Neo-Nazi hate group
Collins was commissioned through Bowie State’s ROTC program on Thursday and was slated to graduate with a business degree on Tuesday.
He was visiting the Maryland campus from Bowie State University.
Collins, a fourth generation member of the armed services, was to report to Missouri’s Fort Leonard Wood and train for countering weapons of mass destruction, according to his commission ceremony.
“I only wish I had the honor to shake hands with 2nd Lt. Ricky Collins,” Mitchell added.
Speaking on behalf of the victim’s family, Pastor Darryl Godlock, revealed the freshly minted officer was celebrating his new commission the night he was killed.
Sean Urbanski [photo], is a member of an ‘Alt-Reich’ Facebook group where members post Racist Memes
“This was a good kid,” Godlock told the Washington D.C. television station. “He was going places and he had high aspirations to achieve all the goals that he set before him, as for a military career.”
“We’re just devastated that his life has been taken away with this senseless act of violence.”
The killing comes after a series of racist incidents at the college in recent months. A noose was found in a fraternity house which is home to its Phi Kappa Tau chapter earlier this month, and posters promoting nationalism were found on campus earlier this year.
UMUC Police Chief David Mitchell [center], with FBI special agent Gordon Johnson and PG County Police Chief Henry Stawinski II addressed the murder of Richard Collins at a joint press conference
The Maryland school’s police chief said investigators learned Urbanski was among more than 1,100 members of the Facebook group “Alt-Reich: Nation,” which was dedicated to “controversial humor.” The group was removed from Facebook late Sunday.
“Suffice to say, it’s despicable. It shows extreme bias against women, Latinos, members of the Jewish faith, and especially African-Americans, which brings up questions of the motive in the case,” Mitchell said of the Facebook page.
The FBI’s field office for Maryland and Delaware is probing the case for additional evidence of bias through technical and digital forensics. Urbanski is white, while Collins is black.
Urbanski faces murder and assault charges in Collins’ death.