A 23-year-old student from Bowie State University (BSU) who was just about to graduate was recently killed in an alleged hate crime.
Richard Collins III, the Bowie State University student who was supposed to graduate on Tuesday, was instead honored by a cap and gown draped over a seat in the front row during the commencement ceremony. The attacker, Sean Christopher Urbanski, was a member of a Facebook group called "Alt-Reich: Nation".
The attack was caught on CCTV and a knife was recovered, police said.
"I am now in no position to get emotions beyond just being sad", his father, Richard Collins Jr, told reporters.
A public affairs specialist in the Baltimore F.B.I. office, Dave Fitz, said that a range of forensic techniques would first need to be employed before they could "recommend hate crime charges".
Collins' classmates at Bowie State organized a vigil in his memory Monday night.
Police called the attack random and "totally unprovoked". Authorities have not said whether Urbanski was an active participant or if he ever created or shared troubling material.
Urbanski has been charged with first- and second-degree murder as well as first-degree assault.
Around 3 a.m. Saturday, Collins and his friends were standing at a bus stop waiting for an Uber when suspect Sean Christopher Urbanski approached them, police said. Bowie State spokeswoman Damita Chambers says it's a student-led effort. "We must all do more to nurture a climate - on campus and beyond - where we stand against hate crimes and we reaffirm the values that define us (as) a university and as a democracy", said Loh in a statement.
Today, UMD students, faculty, staff, and friends gathered for a moment of reflection to honor Lt. Collins and to draw strength from each other.
"This is a terribly, terribly dark time for [the family], and we can't forget about that", Johnson said.
Heartfelt tributes have been paid to Collins, who was honoured at the ceremony where he would have graduated.
Thomas said in an interview Monday that Collins was intelligent, athletic and personable.
Bowie State, a historically black school, holds its commencement Tuesday in the same stadium on the College Park campus where Maryland held its ceremony Sunday.
A police employee in Maryland has been suspended over an "extremely insensitive" joke made on social media in response to a post praising the suspect.