COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ/AP) — What was supposed to be a day for celebration became a day to remember, as a Bowie State University student being killed in College Park.
Richard Collins III was visiting the University of Maryland for graduation weekend when police say Sean Urbanski stabbed him outside a dorm.READ MORE: Protests Continued In Maryland Saturday Over A SCOTUS Decision To Overturn Roe V. Wade
Mike Hellgren has the latest from College Park with the emotional moments of the graduation and where the investigation stands now.
There were a number of poignant moments seeing Richard Collins’ empty chair at the front of the auditorium with his graduation gown draped over it. There is a growing memorial at the bus stop where the murder occurred, with so many people asking how this could happen.
The historically black school’s commencement was held in a sports arena at the nearby College Park campus of the University of Maryland, where Collins was killed early Saturday.
The graduates at Bowie State University held a moment of moment of silence in a bittersweet graduation tribute to the student who was murdered just days before he was to receive his diploma.
Bowie State President Mickey Burnim asked graduates to remember Collins.
“Let us pause now in a moment of silence and contemplation of what each of us might do to promote greater peace, harmony and love that seems to be so lacking in our country and our world today,” he said.
Outside, University of Maryland physics professor Charles Clark wore his academic regalia and carried a sign honoring Collins as he welcomed the other school’s graduates and faculty.
“I thought I’d come and greet people on my own behalf and give them a good impression of the University of Maryland at College Park,” he said.
Bowie State science professor Uvetta Dozier thanked Clark. She called Collins’ death heartbreaking.
“He could have been someone whose life could have been a lamp unto those who are lost,” Dozier said.
Richard Collins’ father accepted his son’s diploma, touching his heart and pointing his hand to the sky. It was an emotional moment for those trying to cope with the loss.
“We have to remember the good times and then we have to remember that we have to go on forward by doing our best, because that’s all he ever did was his best,” says Collins’ friend James Bisher.
Collins was stabbed at the University of Maryland’s campus by a man he never met, Sean Urbanski.READ MORE: Man Found Dead Near His Walker On Anne Arundel County Roadway Saturday, Police Say
The motive remains unclear. 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.
In the meantime, FBI is looking at his ties to a facebook group called “Alt-Reich Nation” that posted racist messages.
The group’s founder contends it’s a satire and he’s not a white supremacist.
An army officer, Collins was starting a job defending America against chemical attacks before his life came to a violent end.
“That’s how we get together, by loving each other, hugging each other and keep moving forward,” says professor of military sciences, Lt. Col. Joel Thomas, who runs the ROTC unit at Bowie State, said he could have been an outstanding military leader.
Collins had just been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.
“Richard cared deeply about his friends, cared deeply about others and he was exactly what we are looking for when we’re selecting officers for the United States Army,” Thomas says.
At a celebration of their biggest achievement, those who knew Collins best vow never to let hate win.
“He was a positive person from the time he woke up to the time he fell asleep,” says Indeo Ragsdale, a friend of Collins’.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan posted on Facebook Monday that the person responsible must be fully prosecuted. “Violence and hatred have no place in our communities and will never be tolerated,” he said.
Collins was just 23-years-old. Police caution against a rush to judgment as they continue to investigate why this happened.
Urbanski remains in jail, where he is being held without bail.Man Shot In Joppatowne Saturday, Sheriff's Office Says
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