Bowie State Student Murdered In Suspected Hate Crime

  • Kristina Evans
  • May 26, 2017 11:11AM

A Bowie State University student and Army officer set to celebrate his graduation this week was instead remembered at a vigil on his campus on Monday and honored at the school’s commencement ceremony on Tuesday. Richard Collins III was murdered at the University of Maryland (UMD) on Saturday in what police are calling an unprovoked attack. The FBI is now helping to investigate whether it was a hate crime.

The 23-year-old business administration and ROTC student who was commissioned an Army officer last week was stabbed to death on the University of Maryland campus early Saturday by Sean Christopher Urbanski. Collins was unknown to 22-year-old Urbanski, and police are currently holding him without bail on first and second-degree murder charges.

Full details are currently being investigated, but preliminary reports state that Collins was waiting for an Uber ride around 3:00 AM on May 20 along with two friends who were UMD students at an on-campus bus stop. They had originally been waiting for a shuttle bus but realized they had missed the last bus. According to witnesses, Urbanski approached the group and said, “Step left, step left if you know what’s best for you.” Collins simply replied with “No.” At this time, there is no official reason for why Urbanski responded to this refusal by stabbing Collins in the chest, but Collins later died in hospital from his wounds.

Social media exploded with the news, and it was quickly revealed that Urbanski was a member of the racist Facebook group ‘Alt-Reich: Nation.' Although his defense lawyer cited media reports saying Urbanski had been intoxicated at the time of the crime, Judge Patrice E. Lewis refused the request for bail, drug counseling, and GPS monitoring.

“He is an absolute danger to the community,” Lewis said. Once Maryland police discovered Urbanski’s participation in Alt-Reich Nation, they contacted the FBI.

“Suffice to say that [Alt-Reich Nation is] despicable. It shows extreme bias against women, Latinos, members of the Jewish faith and especially African Americans,” the police stated at a news conference Sunday. However, the FBI and the Prince George’s County state’s attorney are saying that determination on whether this is a hate crime will take more time. They asked for patience from the victim’s family, friends, and the public as they investigate the circumstances. The group has since been deleted, but authorities have discovered it was an online forum for racist and sexist memes along with other inflammatory material.

Although I appreciate the thorough investigation into all possible motives, I’m going to have to jump on the bandwagon here and agree that this is looking more and more like a hate crime. I wouldn’t call this a lynching as some members of the African-American community are- of course, given the recent controversy with the Mississippi State representative calling for the lynching of those who agreed with slavery monuments being removed, I can sort of understand the word choice.