The FBI is investigating the fatal stabbing of a black man at the University of Maryland as a possible hate crime, after learning that the suspect was a member of a racist Facebook group, authorities said Sunday.
Police said Richard Collins III, a 23-year-old Bowie State University student, was attacked early Saturday while visiting the University of Maryland. Collins was days from graduating and had recently been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, officials said.
University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell said Collins was with friends at the College Park campus when Sean Christopher Urbanski, a 22-year-old University of Maryland student, allegedly stabbed him in the chest with a knife.
Urbanski, who is white, was charged with first- and second-degree murder and first-degree assault. He is being held without bond.
It’s unclear what prompted the encounter between Urbanski and Collins. Witnesses said the suspect was screaming as Collins and his friends approached. Urbanski allegedly said, “Step left, step left if you know what’s best for you.” Collins said “no” and Urbanski allegedly stabbed him, the AP reports.
University of Maryland President Wallace Loh condemned the killing as “senseless.” “We all grieve together for a promising life ended far too early,” Loh said in a statement.
Bowie State planned to hold a student-led vigil for Collins on Monday evening. Collins had been set to graduate Tuesday.