5 questions about the murder of Nabra Hassanen

Elias Hubbard
June 24, 2017

The Dupont neighborhood was one of several vigils held across the country Tuesday for the slain teen, who was found dead in a pond in Sterling, Virginia, on Sunday.

The murder of Hassanen has been classified as a "road rage incident" and police are still investigating whether she was also sexually assaulted.

Roessler says there's a lack of any evidence pointing to a hate crime and has called the notion that her death is a hate crime "a myth on social media".

"Not a hate crime", Sergeant Anna Rose said, explaining that there was "no indication [Soloman] was there to desecrate that memorial". Torres has been charged with the killing. According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, hate crimes like these have risen 20 percent in the past year. The service was held in the Northern Virginia community where she'd lived.

After some deliberation over which jurisdiction would handle Torres' prosecution, officials announced Tuesday that the case would stay in Fairfax because that's where the investigation began.

"We are looking into the possibility of that", Ms. Wright said. Detectives believe [Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, of Sterling] came upon the teens while he was driving.

The girl's family said Torres hit her with a metal baseball bat, then dragged her into his auto and drove off. Officials are now investigating whether the teen was also sexually assaulted, CNN reported.

Christopher Allen, a 19-year-old tourist visiting Washington for summer vacation, told Al Jazeera the circumstances surrounding Hassanen's death point to a hate crime. "Muslim kids and Christian kids in this neighborhood grow up together".

However, community members are finding it hard to separate her murder from a string of other recent incidents in which Muslim teens have been the target of harassment.

Police said Torres chased the group with a baseball bat and was able to reach Nabra.

In a phone interview with The Guardian on Monday afternoon, Nabra's father, Mohmoud Hassanen, said, "He killed my daughter because she is Muslim".

He allegedly got into an argument with one of Hassanen's friends as the teens were on their way to a mosque for Ramadan prayers around 3 a.m. Sunday.

ADAMS Center Imam Mohamed Magid noted the diversity of the crowd Wednesday evening and expressed gratitude "to see we are part of the larger community to stand against bigotry, stand against hate".

"Such incidents send shock waves through the entire community and have the potential to make communities feel unsafe and vulnerable", said Doron F. Ezickson, the Washington D.C. regional director for the Anti-Defamation League.

She was assaulted and became separated from her four friends, police said.

Fairfax County police said on Monday there was no indication that Hassanen's attacker used racial slurs or made any reference to her religion while he attacked her.

Hassanen's father remains convinced her religion drew the attacker to her.

The night she died, she had just hosted a big group of friends, both Muslim and non-Muslim, at her Reston apartment for an iftar - the Ramadan break-the-fast dinner.

She said he briefly attended school in the United States and had no prior connection to Hassanen.

Salaam said the community is struggling because Nabra was beloved by so many, and so well known for her kind spirit.

At her funeral Wednesday, an overflow area itself overflowed with people who came in solidarity.

The public vigil will be at 6:30 p.m.at the Lake Anne Plaza in Reston.

On the way back to the mosque, Mr. Torres pulled up on a boy in the group riding a bicycle in the street, the police said. Torres is accused of abducting and murdering the teen before dumping her body in a pond two miles away.

Virginia investigators are calling Hassanen's beating death a road rage incident, but Muslim women at the vigil were skeptical of that assessment.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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