FBI investigating whether alleged murder of black student by white student was racially motivated

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- The FBI has joined the investigation into a murder on the University of Maryland campus after it was revealed that the white suspect was a member of a racist Facebook group. The victim was black.

Sean Christopher Urbanski of Severna Park faces charges of first- and second-degree murder as well as first-degree assault for the death of Army 2nd Lieutenant Richard Collins III early Saturday, police said. 

Collins had just been commissioned into the Army a few days earlier. He was scheduled to graduate from Bowie State on Tuesday.

The University of Maryland Police Department said the 22-year-old Urbanski was arrested after witnesses positively identified him. 

Police said the stabbing happened while Collins was with two friends near a bus stop at the College Park campus around 3 a.m. 

According to charging documents, they heard Urbanski scream as he approached them from next to the trees near the bus stop. 

Urbanski said "Step left, step left if you know what's best for you," the documents say. Collins said "no" and Urbanski continued to approach before stabbing him once in the chest, they say. 

Police have said the attack appeared to be random and there's no indication that race played a role. The suspect is white and the victim was black. However, the campus police chief said on Sunday that he asked for FBI assistance after finding that 

Urbanski was listed as a member of a Facebook group called "Alt-Reich: Nation," where members leave racially charged posts. The group's membership list included a link to a Facebook page with his photo and the name of the high school in the town where police said he lived. 

The attack came as the University of Maryland hosted visitors for graduation festivities. 

During Sunday's University of Maryland graduation ceremony, School President Wallace Loh led students and their families in a moment of silence for the slain Bowie State student. 

Loh called it a "senseless and unprovoked assault," The Baltimore Sun reported. 

 "We are still in shock that a young man, so full of promise, should have his life cut short, so suddenly," Loh said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, and with the entire Bowie State University community."

 

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