Army Lieutenant Richard Collins III was a Bowie State University student days away from graduation when he was tragically killed. Earlier this year, a plaza was unveiled in his honor at The University Of Maryland College Park. Now his family is pushing for him to be rightfully honored at the Arlington National Cemetery. Learn more in the story by Bruce Leshan at WUSA9.

A Bowie State University student who was days away from graduation Collins, who was days away from graduating Bowie State University and had been commissioned into the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant, 

Lt. Richard Collins III was murdered by an alleged white supremacist. His parents say his killer was the kind of domestic terrorist he’d sworn an oath to oppose.

Dawn and Richard Collins have left their son’s room just the way it was when two Maryland State Troopers arrived on May 20, 2017 to tell them he’d been murdered. A wall is emblazoned with a big American flag, and there are mementos of newly-commissioned 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III’s time in the ROTC at Bowie State University.

Dawn Collins still goes into her son’s room to console herself, and still wakes every night at 2:30 a.m. — the time an alleged white supremacist stabbed him to death at a University of Maryland bus stop. 

“It’s just a sense of disbelief that he’s not here,” said his father, Richard Collins, Jr.

Court papers say Sean Urbanski muttered at Lt. Collins: “Step left, step left if you know what’s best for you.” When Lt. Collins said no, Urbanski plunged a knife into his chest.

For years, the Collins family has been pushing Arlington National Cemetery to let them bury their son amongst the heroes on its sacred, wooded grounds. Now, after another denial, they’re appealing to the White House for help.

Collins had signed his papers, he’d been sworn in and committed himself to service. But because he was killed a few weeks before he was due to report to his first duty station, and because his papers were dated a few weeks later, Arlington is refusing to let him be interred there.

“He was murdered by a domestic terrorist,” Dawn Collins said. “The same individual or enemy of this country that he took an oath to defend against.” 

If it had been just a few weeks later, if he’d already reported for his first command, there wouldn’t be any question, he’d be at Arlington now. Instead, he’s buried in a family plot without a headstone in a small town in North Carolina.

U.S. Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) jointly wrote a letter last year urging the cemetery to reconsider. 

“As you know, Lt. Collins was an ROTC graduate of Bowie State University who commissioned as a 2LT, but was tragically murdered before reporting to his first duty assignment,” they wrote. “While LT Collins does not meet the traditional criteria required for burial at ANC, his situation is unique and warrants serious consideration for a new grave exception. LT Collins had every intention of reporting to his duty station and committed himself to a life of service to his country. Until the very end, LT Collins used his Army training to stand up for what is right. Although his desire to serve was tragically cut short, [Arlington National Cemetery] has the opportunity to demonstrate the Army’s commitment to LT Collins with this exception.”