The Latest: Dad remembers slain son's 'giving heart'

AP News
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Posted: May 23, 2017 10:20 AM
The Latest: Dad remembers slain son's 'giving heart'

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — The Latest on the stabbing death of a black student visiting the University of Maryland (all times local):

10:15 a.m.

The father of a black student slain while visiting a neighboring university says he's too consumed by shock to fully grasp the implications of the "horrific and senseless act."

Richard Collins Jr. tells WRC-TV (http://bit.ly/2rs5sBB ) that he's "in no place to feel very many emotions beyond sadness and just (a) deep sense of personal loss." Collins describes his son, Richard Collins III, as a competitor with "a loving and giving heart."

Police and the FBI are investigating the fatal stabbing of the younger Collins, a Bowie State University student visiting the University of Maryland, as a possible hate crime. Police say the suspect, Sean Urbanski, became a member of a racist Facebook group several months ago.

Collins had just been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army and would have graduated Tuesday.

The elder Collins says his son "would go out of his way, sometimes to my chagrin, to go and help others, but you want to try to encourage that in your children."

Collins says he doesn't blame either university, both of which he said have rallied to support him and his family.

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The University of Maryland's Black Student Union says the slaying of a visiting black student isn't the first incident to expose "escalating racial tensions" at the school.

In a statement, the student group said Monday that the slaying of Richard Collins III, a Bowie State University student set to graduate Tuesday, was clearly racially motivated. The group says the administration enabled the suspect, Sean Urbanski, with its "consistent dismissal of blatant hate speech and race-biased crimes" that threaten marginalized students.

The group says the university must do more than have a dialogue. It says it's "imperative to condemn the thoughts and behaviors associated with hate speech because of its undoubted ability to manifest as racist violence."

The slaying is being investigated by the FBI as a possible hate crime. Urbanski, who is white, is charged with first- and second-degree murder and first-degree assault and is being held without bond.

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University of Maryland officials are honoring a Bowie State University student slain at the College Park campus with a moment of reflection at the school's chapel garden.

In a message to the campus community Monday, the university announced that a moment of reflection will be held Wednesday in honor of Richard Collins III, the student fatally stabbed on campus over the weekend. The university says the campus community is invited to "stand in solidarity with his family, friends and the entire Bowie State University community" in a moment of reflection at the Garden of Reflection and Remembrance at the Memorial Chapel.

Police say Collins, a Bowie State University student set to graduate Tuesday, was attacked by Sean Urbanski early Saturday while visiting the University of Maryland. The black student's slaying is being investigated by the FBI as a possible hate crime. Urbanski, who is white, is charged with first- and second-degree murder and first-degree assault and is being held without bond.

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9 a.m.

A civilian police employee in Maryland has been suspended over what police call an "extremely insensitive" response to a social media comment about the slaying of a black student visiting the University of Maryland.

Anne Arundel County police announced in a statement that Welby Burgone was suspended hours after officials became aware Monday of his Facebook comment that apparently made a joke in response to a post praising the stabbing suspect. Police say the comment appeared to be racially motivated.

Police say Burgone, a former police academy recruit, is assigned to the department's communications section.

The Capital (http://bit.ly/2qRwMXj ) reports that Burgone attended Severna Park High School with Sean Urbanski, the white University of Maryland student charged in the fatal stabbing of Bowie State University student Richard Collins III. The slaying at the university in neighboring Prince George's County is being investigated as a possible hate crime.

Chief Timothy Altomare calls Burgone's actions "a betrayal" of the department's values. He says any employee "who espouses or supports hateful or racist ideology will be held accountable."

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4:10 a.m.

Prosecutors are asking for patience as they investigate as a possible hate crime the stabbing of black Army officer, allegedly by a white University of Maryland student.

The stabbing of Richard Collins III is being investigated by police and the FBI. Police say the suspect, Sean Urbanski, became a member of a racist Facebook group several months ago.

Collins' classmates at Bowie State organized held a vigil in his memory on Monday night.

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

Collins, who was visiting friends at the College Park campus, had just been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army and would have graduated Tuesday from Bowie State.