Prosecutor: Too early to call college student’s fatal stabbing a hate crime

Authorities appealed for patience Monday from two college communities reacting in shock, fear and anger after a white University of Maryland student was arrested in what police called the unprovoked stabbing of a black Bowie State University student.

Police and the FBI are investigating the killing of Richard Collins III as a possible hate crime, because the suspect, Sean Urbanski, became a member of a racist Facebook group several months ago.

Hundreds filled an auditorium Monday night at Bowie State University, where friends, family and students who completed ROTC with Collins remembered his selflessness, humor and courage.

“This is a beautiful sight, just to see everybody here united to uplift the family,” said Yasmeen Jordan, the senior class president.

Later, people stood at a candlelight vigil outside and released balloons. Both inside and outside, classmates hugged and cried.

“I know people are hurting,” Police Chief Hank Stawinski said. “I know that people are drawing conclusions. I know that social media moves in its own way.

“But I’m asking as the Chief of Police in Prince George’s County … that we take pause and allow all these investigators to do their work. They will know to a certainty what lies behind this, but we’re not there yet.”

Urbanski, who was denied bond Monday at his first court hearing, was intoxicated during the slaying early Saturday, and police are awaiting results of drug tests.

Defense attorney William C. Brennan argued that since the 22-year-old had no criminal record, he should be allowed to live at home with a GPS monitor and receive alcohol abuse treatment while his case goes forward. The judge declined, for now.

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