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President Wallace D. Loh Statement on May 20, 2017 Campus Tragedy: Update

May 21, 2017

Update from President Wallace D. Loh on May 20, 2017 campus tragedy:

The horrific assault that took the life of a young man on our campus on Saturday morning has shocked, saddened, and angered our community and beyond.

His name is Richard W. Collins III, an African-American student at Bowie State University (BSU) who was recently commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.  Lt. Collins was scheduled to graduate this Tuesday.

The suspect is Sean Urbanski, a UMD student. He has been charged by the University of Maryland Police Department (UMPD) with first- and second-degree murder and first-degree assault. He is being held without bond.

New information obtained today from witnesses and other sources has led law enforcement officials to consider a hate-bias motive in this case. To ensure a comprehensive investigation, UMPD today asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to provide technical and forensic expertise, which it agreed to do. Prince George's County Police Department is also part of the investigative team.

It is essential that law enforcement agencies have the time to conduct the thorough investigation needed for law and justice to prevail. I have requested that they provide periodic updates to the UMD and BSU communities, as appropriate.

The safety of our campus community remains a top priority. UMPD has increased substantially its visible patrols, on and off campus. The Prince George's County Police has also increased its patrols in the College Park community. UMPD is monitoring 24/7 the hundreds of video security cameras throughout the campus. The Department of Transportation Services has initiated NITE Ride, a curb-to-curb bus service that runs from dusk to 6 AM. 

However, increased police security is not sufficient. We must all do more to nurture a climate -- on campus and beyond -- where we stand against hate, we fight against hate crimes, and we reaffirm the values that define us a university and as a democracy.

As we search for answers to this senseless crime, please continue to keep the family and friends of Lt. Collins, and the BSU community, in your thoughts and prayers. We all grieve together for a promising life ended far too early.