Maryland authorities have asked the FBI to help them investigate whether the fatal stabbing of a black student at a college campus over the weekend was a hate crime.
Via: NBC BLK
The tragedy comes as civil rights groups expressed great concern over what they said was a rise of bias incidents across the nation’s schools.
Richard Wilbur Collins III, 23, was killed early Saturday while visiting friends at the University of Maryland’s College Park campus. Collins, a senior at Bowie State University, was just days away from his graduation.
He’d finished the ROTC program in college and had been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. army on Thursday, according to officials.
The victim was stabbed to death by 22-year-old suspect old Sean Christopher Urbanski, a white student at the University of Maryland, in what was first described as a “totally unprovoked” attack, authorities said.
University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell said Sunday evening at a press conference that he asked the FBI’s field office in Baltimore to aid in the investigation after it was discovered that Urbanski belonged to a Facebook group, “Alt-Reich: Nation,” which featured bigoted posts.
“Suffice it to say that it’s despicable,” Mitchell said. “It shows extreme bias against women, Latinos, members of the Jewish faith and especially African Americans.”
Mitchell said local police and the FBI will probe whether hate or bias was a motive in the murder. He said he had not seen specific postings from Urbanski on the website yet.
“We are here to evaluate that as an ongoing concern with respect to whether or not this was a hate crime,” Gordon Johnson, special agent in charge of the FBI field office in Baltimore, said at the press conference.
Urbanski has been charged with first and second-degree murder and first-degree assault and is being held in a county jail without bond, officials said. He was expected to appear in court later Monday.