The University of Maryland student accused of stabbing a black U.S. Army lieutenant to death apparently liked memes about Donald Trump, white supremacy, and the alt-right.
Sean Urbanski, 22, allegedly killed Richard Collins III on campus early Saturday morning. Collins, 23, was visiting friends, the Baltimore Sun reported, when witnesses told police that Urbanski told him to move out of the way. When Collins did not, Urbanski allegedly stabbed him.
Collins, an ROTC student, would have graduated from Bowie State University this week with a degree in business administration. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army last Thursday, school officials said.
Local authorities initially said the stabbing didn’t appear to be racially motivated, but the FBI began investigating it as a hate crime after it was revealed that Urbanski belonged to a racist Facebook group called “Alt-Reich Nation.”
The group has since been taken down and Urbanski’s social media accounts are all on lockdown except one: a profile on 9gag.com, a meme-sharing website. Urbanski rarely posted on the site, but he often upvoted and commented on racist and violent posts whose messages are consistent with the alt-right.
One post he liked was titled: Trump isn’t lying that hispanics are taking the land away and that times are bad...” The post included several graphics claiming the white race was dying at the hands of minorities.
“Uh oh here come the Hispanics saying it was their land first,” Urbanski commented.
Urbanski liked another post that said “leftists” are “murderers” who are “freely attacking our race in the media,” who promote “third world immigration,” “white guilt propaganda,” and “openly promoting us to breed away.”
Urbanski upvoted another post praising Marine Le Pen for refusing to wear a headscarf while visiting Lebanon.
“I got arrested for punching this guy at a New Years party,” another picture Urbanski upvoted reads. “When you hear an Arab counting down from ten, your instincts kick in.”
Urbanski was arrested shortly after the stabbing and is being held without bail. Police officers reportedly retrieved a folding knife from his pocket.
University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell asked for the FBI’s help after he learned Urbanski was a member of the Alt Reich group.
"When I looked at the information that’s contained on that website, suffice to say that it’s despicable. It shows extreme bias against women, Latinos, members of the Jewish faith, and especially African-Americans,” Mitchell said at a press conference. “Which brings up questions as to the motive in this case. Knowing that, we will continue to look for digital evidence, among other items of evidentiary value.”
Earlier this month, a noose was found hanging in the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity’s on-campus house, prompting another hate crime investigation. After that incident, several students said they regularly experienced racism on campus. “”
During Sunday’s commencement ceremony, University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh opened the ceremony with a moment of silence.
“On behalf of our entire community, I want to express our profound sorrow and anguish for this horrific tragedy,” Loh said. “We are still in shock that a young man, so full of promise, could have his life cut short so suddenly.”
Bowie State University is holding a memorial for Collins on Monday evening.