The Bowie State University student fatally stabbed just days before his graduation was remembered Friday as an "outstanding" man who wanted to follow in his father's footsteps.
Thousands of people attended the funeral for 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Upper Marlboro.
"Richard Collins did more in his life than most in a full lifetime," Maj. Gen. Christopher Hughes said.
Rev. Darryl Godlock, a spokesman for Collins's family, described the 23-year-old as an "outstanding" and "highly intelligent" man who wanted to follow in his father's footsteps in the military.
Richard Collins Jr. saluted his son's casket.
Sean Urbanski attacked Collins Saturday while Collins visited the University of Maryland, police said. The black student's slaying is being investigated by the FBI as a possible hate crime.
Collins was scheduled to graduate from Bowie State University Tuesday. His family accepted his degree at the commencement ceremony and a black gown was draped across a chair in the front row in Collins' honor.
Collins had just been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army, and "he prided himself on his time and in his ROTC unit on being the top runner in his PTs," remembered his father, Richard Collins Jr. "He even won a certificate for being the best."
"It is tragic to lose a service man in battle," U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Gwen Bingham said. "It is even more tragic to lose them to senseless acts of violence."
Urbanski, who is white, is charged with murder and assault. The FBI is helping local police determine whether the killing was a hate crime after investigators learned Urbanski belonged to a Facebook group called "Alt-Reich: Nation," where members post disparaging material about African Americans and others.
“America does not have a skin problem,” Godlock said. "What it has is a sick problem."
Collins was waiting for the university's shuttle bus with his friends about 3 a.m. Saturday when they realized the shuttle bus had stopped running for the night, according to court documents obtained by News4. The three decided to call an Uber and were waiting for one to arrive when they heard Urbanski screaming nearby, according to the documents.
Collins and his friends watched Urbanski as he approached them. According to court documents, Urbanski said, "Step left, step left if you know what's best for you," and Collins responded, "No."
Urbanski continued to approach the group, pulled out a knife with a 3- to 4-inch silver blade and stabbed Collins once in the chest, the documents said.
Collins' father told NBC News he was in shock.
"I'm in no place to feel very many emotions beside sadness and just a deep sense of personal loss," he said.