Sean Urbanski allegedly walked up to Richard Collins III at a bus stop and stabbed the black college student to death in an attack that investigators say might be a hate crime.
The stabbing took place at the University of Maryland, where police say the 22-year-old Urbanski launched an unprovoked attack on a group of students who were waiting for a ride in the early morning hours on Saturday. Urbanski is facing murder charges for the stabbing, and the FBI is now joining what could become investigated as a hate crime.
Collins and two friends were waiting near a bus stop at 3 a.m. on Saturday when Urbanski approached the group holding a knife, NBC Washington reported. According to court documents, Urbanski told the group, “Step left, step left if you know what’s best for you,” but Collins said “No” as Urbanski continued to approach.
Urbanski then stabbed Collins in the chest with a 3- or 4-inch silver knife, the report noted. Witnesses remained with Collins until police and paramedics arrived, and Sean Urbanski was arrested as he sat on a bench about 50 feet from where the stabbing took place.
University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell said the attack was unprovoked.
Collins was a senior at Bowie State University and was set to graduate on Tuesday. He had recently been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, NBC Washington noted.
“It never gets any worse than this,” Mitchell said, via NBC Washington. “When I sat with the victim’s father, who is a military veteran, and his pastor and we shed tears together…I can tell you, it rips your heart out.”
The FBI is reportedly investigating whether race was a factor in the murder. Sean Urbanski was reportedly a member of a Facebook group called Alt Reich: Nation where members posted racially charged material mocking and denigrating black people.
Now it was reported that the stabbing was random and unmotivated, but Sean Urbanski turns out to be part of a white supremacists group pic.twitter.com/cimyvy3zgJ
— Kayla Imani ???? (@KaylaLittle_16) May 21, 2017
— Shomari Stone (@shomaristone) May 22, 2017
Police also said they believe Sean Urbanski had been drinking before the fatal stabbing, but did not say if that was considered a factor. There were reports that Urbanski was a student at the University of Maryland, but this appears to be unconfirmed.
The murder of Richard Collins III and the possibility that it may have been a hate crime made the murder national news, with many outlets picking up on the stabbing. It has also prompted many of those who knew Collins to come forward, remembering him as a dedicated student and a good friend.
“Everyone is in disbelief,” Ciera Sorrell, a classmate of Collins, told the Associated Press. “He seemed so excited to get to live his life and he doesn’t have that chance anymore,” she said.
Mitchell said the killing has spread fear across the University of Maryland campus.
“If I’m a person of color I would certainly look at this as something that could happen to me. In fact, I know on Facebook our students are saying that,” Mitchell said, as reported by the Associated Press.
The family of Richard Collins has been devastated as well, Mitchell added.
“I met with his family earlier today. Needless to say, they’re very distraught. They’re shattered, but they do know that the assailant in this case has been arrested, and he will be appropriately charged,” Mitchell said.
And on the Bowie State Campus, Collins was remembered with a moment of silence at Sunday’s graduation ceremony.
“We are still in shock that a young man, so full of promise, should have his life cut short, so suddenly,” said school president Wallace Loh. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, and with the entire Bowie State University community.”
Police have charged Sean Urbanski with first- and second-degree murder as well as first-degree assault in the stabbing death of Richard Collins III.
[Featured Image by University of Maryland Police Department]