×
FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
October 13, 2017

Northern California is burning, leaving some neighborhoods as nothing more than charred, apocalyptic-seeming wastelands.

So far at least 31 people have died in the wind-fueled wildfires, which are sweeping through wine country just north of San Francisco. Still hundreds more are missing. Once-vibrant neighborhoods like Coffey Park in Santa Rosa have been incinerated, with nothing but ashes left where hundreds of suburban homes once stood. More than 2,800 homes are gone, Santa Rosa city officials said Thursday, as well as some 410,000 square feet of commercial space.

As of Thursday, the fires had decimated more than 191,000 acres of land, or about 300 square miles, across the northern part of the state, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Below, a look at the horrifying scale of the destruction. Kelly Gonsalves

(Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

May 23, 2017

Richard Collins III was set to graduate from Maryland's Bowie State University on Tuesday, not long after being commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. He was killed on Saturday in an "unprovoked attack," and his father is left trying to understand how something like this could happen.

"A parent's worst nightmare has just reached my doorstep," Richard Collins Jr. told NBC Washington. His 23-year-old son was waiting with friends for an Uber car on the University of Maryland campus when they were approached by the suspect, 22-year-old Sean Urbanski, court documents said. Witnesses told police Urbanski said, "Step left, step left if you know what's best for you," and Collins said no. Urbanski continued to walk closer, then pulled a knife out and stabbed Collins once in the chest, court documents said. Collins was pronounced dead at a local hospital, and Urbanski, after being identified by witnesses as Collins' attacker, was arrested while sitting at a bus stop. Urbanski has been charged with murder and assault, and a judge on Monday ruled he should be held without bond because he was "an absolute danger to the community."

After it was discovered that Urbanski was a member of a Facebook group called Alt-Reich Nation, University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell asked the FBI for help determining if the incident was a hate crime. Meanwhile, Collins' father is remembering how his son could "make friends no matter what group he was around" and enjoyed running and playing soccer and lacrosse. The younger Collins was a competitive athlete who had a "loving and giving heart," his father told NBC Washington. "He would go out of his way, sometimes to my chagrin, to try and help others. But you want to try to encourage that in your children." Catherine Garcia