US & Canada

'Alt-Reich' member charged in fatal stabbing of black student

Sean Christopher Urbanski. Image copyright University of Maryland Police Department
Image caption Mr Urbanski belongs to a Facebook group that disparages African Americans, police say

The FBI is looking into whether the fatal stabbing of a black student by a white student at the University of Maryland was a hate crime.

Sean Christopher Urbanski, 22, was arrested on murder charges in the death of Richard Collins III in the early hours of Saturday, according to police.

Mr Collins, 23, was visiting friends at the College Park campus when he was stabbed in the chest with a knife.

The victim was commissioned as a US Army lieutenant two days earlier.

He was set to graduate from Bowie State University on Tuesday.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption The victim was commissioned as a US Army lieutenant two days before the stabbing

Local police asked the FBI to help in the investigation after discovering Mr Urbanski belonged to a Facebook group called "Alt-Reich Nation".

The online community featured disparaging content about African Americans, women, Jews and others, according to University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell.

Mr Urbanski, who made his first court appearance on Monday, was denied to remain in custody.

District Court Judge Patrice Lewis said there was "clear and convincing" evidence he "is an absolute danger to the community".

Mr Urbanski's lawyer told the judge that "alcohol and substance abuse may have played a significant role in all of this".

Police said Mr Collins was with two friends near a bus stop on campus at around 03:00 local time (07:00 GMT).

Witnesses told the police they heard Mr Urbanski screaming before he approached Mr Collins and his friends.

The suspect allegedly told the group: "Step left, step left if you know what's best for you."

Mr Collins said "no" before Mr Urbanski allegedly stabbed him once in the chest.

He was taken to Prince George's County Shock Trauma, where he was declared dead.

Two police officers reportedly found Mr Urbanski sitting on a bench about 50ft (15m) from where Mr Collins was stabbed.

He was taken into custody and charged with first- and second-degree murder as well as first-degree assault.

University of Maryland President Wallace D Loh said in a statement the attack had "shocked, saddened, and angered our community and beyond".

Dr Artie Lee Travis, Bowie State's vice-president of student affairs, said he hopes the investigation moves forward.

"Hate has no place in America," he said.

"Hate has no place on a college campus, where young minds are coming together to try to change the world."

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