Beating death of Virginia teen shakes Muslim community

Posted at 6:56 AM, Jun 21, 2017

RESTON, Va. -- A funeral prayer service for Nabra Hassanen, the Muslim teen who was attacked and killed early Sunday near a Virginia mosque, will be held Wednesday.

Police say a man fatally beat her with a bat during a weekend road-rage incident, and that it appears her attack was not a hate crime.

Hassanen, 17, died of blunt-force trauma to the head and neck, according to the medical examiner's office.

Her funeral prayer service will be held at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center in Sterling, Virginia, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

A community vigil for Hassanen has also been planned by the teen's friends and classmates on Wednesday night in Reston, where she was from.

On Tuesday, hundreds attended a "Justice for Nabra" vigil in Washington's DuPont Circle, reported CNN affiliate WJLA.

The brutal killing of Hassanen has shaken the local Muslim community -- especially as she was attacked hours before a man drove a van into a crowd of worshipers at a mosque in London. It prompted CAIR to issue a security alert calling for Muslim communities to step up security for Ramadan-related activities.

Hassanen's father told CNN earlier this week that he believes his daughter was killed because she was wearing an abaya, a traditional black cloak.

"This is a hate crime," Mahmoud Hassanen said. "It's racism. Getting killed because she's Muslim."

He said his daughter "loved everybody. She liked to help other people."

She excelled in school, and enjoyed music and fashion, he added.

Teens had attended midnight prayers

On Sunday, the teen had been with a group of friends after an overnight service at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS Center).

Police and her family said the group of friends had left the ADAMS Center after midnight prayers, heading to a McDonald's before the next fast began. The mosque holds prayers throughout the night during the observance of Ramadan.

On their way back to the mosque, the group walked and rode their bikes on the street and the sidewalk, while the suspect, Darwin Martinez Torres, drove, police said.

Police say Torres saw the group in the street and on the sidewalk. He became so enraged after arguing with one teen he drove up on a curb, police said.

He later found the group in a nearby parking lot, chased them on foot with a baseball bat and allegedly beat Hassanen.

Torres, 22, put the injured teen in his car, officials said. Her body was found Sunday evening in Loudoun County.

Torres has been charged with murder and faces a maximum punishment of life in prison. Police are investigating the possibility that the teen was sexually assaulted, said Fairfax County police spokeswoman Tawny Wright.

Community in mourning

The Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. met with leaders from the ADAMS Center on Tuesday.

"The Chief assured them we will continue to diligently investigate the case and provide our support," according to a police statement. "We have a long-standing relationship with the ADAMS Center, and our hearts go out to everyone in our Muslim community and beyond for this tragic crime."

CNN's Dakin Andone‏, Chris Boyette and Darran Simon contributed to this report.



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