Richard Collins III, who was stabbed to death in a random attack at the University of Maryland, was remembered as a “kind soul” who had just been commissioned into the U.S. Army.
The suspect in Collins’ unprovoked murder, Sean Urbanski, was a member of a racist Facebook group called the “Alt Reich: Nation,” in which members post mocking references to Anne Frank and blacks. Collins was black, and Urbanski was white. The murder is being investigated as a hate crime.
The murder of the young soldier, who was a student at Bowie State University, has horrified the community, and the FBI has been called in to investigate. Urbanski, 22, was a University of Maryland student.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Collins Was Waiting for an Uber With Friends at a Bus Stop When He Was Stabbed
All Collins was doing when he was attacked was waiting for an Uber ride with some friends.
The shuttles had stopped running, so the friends waited at the bus stop for the car to arrive, reports NBC Washington. That’s when the suspect, Urbanski, is accused of running forth and stabbing Collins, who was a random stranger to him.
Collins stood up to the attacker, friends told the television station. When Urbanski said, “Step left, step left if you know what’s best for you,” Collins responded no, according to NBC Washington.
Urbanski is accused of using a 3-4 inch silver knife to stab Collins a single time in the chest, reports the television station. Fox 5 referred to the murder as a “random and unprovoked attack.”
Sean Urbanski: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Sean Urbanski, left, a 22-year-old University of Maryland student, is accused of fatally stabbing Bowie State student Richard Collins III. It’s being investigated as a possible hate crime.
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2. Collins Was Days From Graduation & Only Recently Commissioned to Serve in the U.S. Army
Collins had a bright future ahead of him, and was about to realize many dreams.
He would have graduated on May 23 from Bowie State University.
According to Fox 5 DC, Collins “was recently commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.” Family members had posted photos of him in uniform as recently as May 18.
The Baltimore Sun reports that Collins “had been in ROTC in college and had just been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army’s intelligence division on Thursday” May 18.
Collins had shared photos of himself holding ROTC commendations.
The stabbing death occurred around 3 a.m. early Saturday, May 20.
3. Friends & Officials Remembered Collins as a ‘Kind Soul’ & ‘National Treasure’
An FBI agent told The Baltimore Sun that Collins should be remembered as a “national treasure.”
One man wrote on Facebook, “…we may not have spoken that often lately but you were definitely a friend, a friendly face, and a kind soul. You’ll be missed dearly by the Bowie State University community #BulldogNation has gained another angel. Rest easy bro.”
Maurice Gatling, director of retention at Bowie State University, wrote that Collins was his “mentee,” and added, “It is always hard to lose a student to a senseless death. I feel honored and blessed to have known 2nd Lieutenant Richard Collins. Rest in Peace and may your light forever shine….”
Collins chillingly wrote “I’m dead” in a post on Facebook on May 17, but it was a joke about a meme someone had posted. He wrote in March, “I’m proud to live in a country with a hard nose leader who understands it is imperative to protect American interests first.” He also wrote about Mother’s Day, Easter, Syria, made jokes, and mentioned his awards – altogether, his was a typical Facebook page of a young man with a lot of life left to live.
4. Collins Had Worked at WalMart & as a Golf Course Groundskeeper
On Facebook, Collins wrote that he was an “Ares god of War at United States Army” who had worked as a “former Groundskeeper at Chesapeake Hills Golf Club” and “Former Average Joe at Walmart.”
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He also wrote that he had “studied Rocket Science and Brain Surgery at University,” lived in Owings, Maryland, and was from Chesapeake, Virginia. The rocket science and brain surgery reference was a joke. He was actually in business school.
“The College of Business has been blessed and privileged to share time and space with 2nd Lieutenant Richard NineIron Collins! We love you and will miss you. Rest In Peace Bro!,” said a post on the college’s Facebook page.
5. Urbanski Is Accused of Being Part of a Hate Group That Refers to Itself as the Alt Reich
Urbaski’s membership in an Alt Reich Facebook group is part of what prompted authorities to contemplate a hate crime motive, reports NBC Washington.
Posts on the group’s page by other people make vile references to blacks and Jews, even bringing up Anne Frank, who died in the Holocaust. A lot of the references on the group are sexual in nature.
The page even contains a recent post that makes a joke about an Uber ride that was made after Collins was murdered. Its moderator was not Urbanski, and it’s not clear why he joined the group or how actively he participated in it. On May 8, a person posted on the group’s page, “So we an anti liberal with side of booty and klan group?”
David Mitchell, the police chief of the University of Maryland Police Department, said in a news conference, “When I looked at the information that’s contained on that website, suffice it to say that it’s despicable, it shows extreme bias against women, Latinos, members of the Jewish faith and especially African Americans.”
He added: “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.”
However, authorities have stopped short of saying the suspect was motivated by Collins’ race and did not immediately indicate that the slaying was a hate crime; that’s still under investigation. According to the Baltimore Sun, witnesses described Urbanski allegedly acting “intoxicated and incoherent” at the scene, where he was arrested as Collins lay fatally wounded in the street.
According to his LinkedIn page, Urbanski is a Kinesiology major at the University of Maryland, whose mother works for the University of Maryland as the college’s associate director of financial aid for its University College and whose father is a safety manager for a defense contractor.