Raleigh vigil held for slain Virginia Muslim teen


Nabra's body was found later on Sunday in a Sterling pond.

Police said they are continuing to investigate, but so far they have found no evidence pointing to a hate crime by Darwin Martinez Torres, a 22-year-old from El Salvador suspected of being in the US illegally. The man then pulled his vehicle over, chased down the group of teens with a baseball bat and assaulted Hassanen.

We recently reported on the bad and senseless murder of 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen, who went missing after a road rage dispute with a motorist (suspect, 22-year-old Darwin Martinez Torres) that transpired while she was on her way to a local mosque with a group of friends for Ramadan prayers.

Her family said all the girls in the group were wearing Muslim headscarves and robes. According to police, Hassanen and the other teens got into some kind of altercation with 22-year-old Darwin Martinez Torres, who had been driving by in his vehicle.

More than 5,000 people honored Hassanen at her funeral in Sterling, Virginia on Wednesday.

A funeral was planned for Wednesday afternoon at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center, where Hassanen and her friends had been prior to the attack.

In Virginia, hate crime charges can apply when a victim is targeted because of her religion, among other things.

Police said Torres beat her with a baseball bat after chasing a group of teenagers he encountered in the road on Sunday. Police said he beat her with a baseball bat early Sunday, drove off with her in his auto and assaulted her again - they haven't said how - before dumping her body in a pond near her home.

"It appears the suspect became so enraged over the traffic dispute it escalated into deadly violence".

Many of those attending said they felt compelled to come after hearing about the attack in the news and on social media. The night she died, she had just had a group of Muslim and non-Muslim friends over to her Reston apartment for dinner to break the day's fast, the Post says. The FBI defines a hate crime as a "criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity".

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The public defender's office, which was appointed to represent Martinez Torres, declined to comment.

"It's disgusting, the fact that this is being investigated as a road-rage incident as opposed to being a hate crime", said Baidan Ali, 20, of Annandale.

The college student is from the same area in Egypt that Nabra's family is from, and said she attended because the teen was "one of us".

"Where is Nabra?" she keeps asking, Mohmoud said during an emotional interview.

Hamdi Sharif, 16, a classmate of Nabra's at South Lakes High School, said she was a "kind" and "funny" girl whose life was cut short far too early.

She and the other teens had just left a restaurant where they'd had suhoor, the predawn meal Muslims eat during the holy month of Ramadan. The attack on Hassanen came as she was on her way to a mosque for Ramadan.

On Monday, British authorities charged a man with terrorism after he allegedly plowed his van into Muslim worshippers outside a London mosque, injuring at least nine people. "She went with a group of friends from the mosque to get food", said Kashif Osman, with The Light House Project.

Joshua Salaam, chaplain at the ADAMS Center, told a press conference Tuesday that the mosque has faith in the police investigation.

Fairfax County officials say they do not believe the case will be treated as a federal hate crime, although they have not ruled out the possibility.