Family and friends laid 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen to rest Wednesday, just days after she was killed in what police are calling a road rage incident.
Dranesville Road, which was largely empty when an attacker beat Nabra there on early Sunday morning, was packed with people walking along the same sidewalk to attend her funeral. Martinez-Torres got in an altercation with the group, who then scattered.
That Torres’s motive was not as initially reported should make the murder no less enraging.
Roessler says his detectives are waiting on forensic tests on the Muslim teenager’s body, which was pulled from a pond on Sunday. Police have described it as a road rage incident and say there’s no evidence to suggest it was a hate crime.
Police say they are not investigating Nabra’s death as a hate crime; however, Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond Morrogh has said he will continue to weigh the possibility before deciding how to proceed with the case.
While the Fairfax police said that the nature of the investigation into Hassanen’s murder is subject to change should the investigation reveal that the crime was motivated by bias toward Hassanen or her faith.
Twenty-two-year-old Darwin Martinez Torres is being held without bail on a murder charge. “Nothing indicates that this was motivated by race or by religion”, Fairfax County police spokesperson Julie Parker said (via Fox 5). Events were held Tuesday night in D.C., Boston, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and the Los Angeles area. Hassanen’s group ran from Torres, but soon Torres found them in a parking lot.
Police have charged a 22-year-old motorist, Darwin Martinez Torres of Sterling, with her murder. He allegedly abducted Hassanen in the ensuing confusion, assaulted her with a baseball bat and dumped her body in the pond.
Nabra was the only one who didn’t escape.
“I can’t believe it”, Martinez-Torres’ aunt, who asked not to be identified, told reporters at his court arraignment Monday.
Those school days watching everyone eating in the busy lunchroom while she and Nabra and their other Muslim friends fasted were tough.
The world’s oldest seat of Sunni Islamic learning warned of a “worrying growth in Islamophobia”, which it said threatens the lives of Muslims in Western countries.
“When you see an attack against one community, it has to be viewed as an attack against all communities”, said Randal Cutter, a pastor at New Dawn Community Church in Coral Springs.
His first born was “a handsome lady”, who excelled in school, he said.
The likeness shows a pair of glasses like the ones Hassanen wore, over the outline of her face, wrapped in a headscarf, with the hashtag #Nabra. “Muslim kids and Christian kids in this neighborhood grow up together”.
Crying, wiping tears from his eyes, he said he taught his children “how to love other people”.
Nabra’s vicious murder must be examined within the context of that data – Islamophobia, anti-Muslim extremism, and anti-Muslim violence is real and we can not dismiss it. “She is wearing hijab and goes to another mosque”. She says crisis support also will be available in the coming days. He didn’t have an answer, he said.
Ibrahim Hooper, media director for the Council on American-Islamic Affairs (CAIR), the nation’s largest grassroots Muslim civil rights organisation, said his group would work with police.
Just this week, a man drove a van into a group of Muslims outside of a mosque in London.