The University of Maryland announced Sunday that the FBI is helping the campus police determine whether the fatal stabbing of a Black student visiting the university by a White student was a hate crime, CNN reports.
University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh issued a statement saying that witnesses and other sources have led investigators to believe the accused assailant may have been motivated by racial bias in the unprovoked attack.
The 23-year-old victim, Richard Wilbur Collins III, was Bowie State University student, who was scheduled to graduate on Tuesday and had been commissioned by the Army as a second lieutenant.
According to WBAL-TV, Collins was standing with two friends near a bus stop on the university’s campus in College Park when the suspect approached them early Saturday morning.
University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell told reporters that witnesses said the suspect began yelling at Collins and his friends.
“He then said step left, step left if you know what’s good for you,” according to Mitchell.
“The victim looked at him puzzled with the other friends of his and said ‘no,’” Mitchell said. “It was then that [the suspect] stabbed the victim in his chest.”
Collins was taken to Prince George’s County Shock Trauma, where he was declared dead.
WBAL-TV identified the suspect as 22-year-old Sean Christopher Urbanski, a University of Maryland student. Authorities charged him with first-and second-degree murder and first-degree assault.
He is a member of a hate group on Facebook named Alt Reich. Despite his affiliation with the online group, his motive for the attack will determine whether he’s charged with a hate crime, authorities said.