Virginia police probe Muslim girl’s killing as ‘road rage’ incident

Victim Nabra Hassenen. Photo from Twitter

WASHINGTON (Reuters) A teenage Muslim girl killed by a bat-wielding motorist near a Virginia mosque was an apparent victim of “road rage” and her death is not being investigated as a hate crime, police said on Monday (June 19).

Nabra Hassanen, 17, was attacked early on Sunday in Sterling, Va., about 30 miles west of Washington, after attending late-night prayers for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when many Muslims fast from dawn until sunset.

Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, of Sterling, has been arrested and charged with murder in the case that began with a road dispute with a boy on a bicycle who was among a group of teenagers that included Hassanen, Fairfax County police spokeswoman Julie Parker said.

Darwin Martinez Torres has been charged with murder. Photo courtesy of the Fairfax County Police Department

“It appears that the suspect became so enraged over this traffic argument that it escalated into deadly violence,” she told a news conference.

Parker said there was no indication the attack near the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque was motivated by race or religion. Police said there was no sign that Martinez used racial slurs during the attack.

Sharon Bulova, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, expressed solidarity with the Muslim center and said a prayer vigil would held Wednesday at a high school.

“With regard to this case, I am confident justice will be served,” she said at the news conference.

The attack took place about 3:40 a.m. as up to 15 teenagers who had attended prayer services at the mosque were returning from a fast-food restaurant, Parker said.

Some of the teenagers were in the road and Martinez began arguing with the boy on a bicycle as he was driving in his car, Parker said.


Martinez chased the youths into a parking lot, emerged from his car with a baseball bat, and struck Hassanen, she said.

He loaded Hassanen into his car and dumped her in a pond in neighboring Loudoun County, Parker said. A search team recovered the body on Sunday, and an autopsy showed she had suffered blunt force trauma to the upper body, she added.

The Washington Post reported that Hassanen and her friends were dressed in abayas, the robelike dress worn by some Muslim women, prompting fears the victim was targeted because she was Muslim.

Police arrested Martinez about 90 minutes after the assault and a judge ordered that he remain jailed without bail, officials said. He has been assigned a public defender.


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  • shut up sandi…stuff an massive sock in it. really. Have you no respect you dumb twat.

  • This cannot be road rage. He was arguing with a boy on a bike. You are telling me from that to beating a girl over the head, kidnapping her and taking her to the woods to beat her to death was not racially motivated. WHAT THE HELL WAS A SPANISH KID DOING NEAR THE MOSQUE PARKING LOT AT 3AM?
    I think people need to wake up and smell the bullshit.

  • ahhh I hit home, eh…..been thinking about my question, I see. BTW nice to see you also.

  • “Spanish kids” are allowed to be out as late and at whatever places Muslim teenagers are allowed. Maybe he was coming from work, girlfriend, boyfriend, 7-Eleven, whatever. The dispute did not originate at the mosque. It originated on a public roadway on the way between the fast food restaurant and the mosque. The defendant chased the youths to a parking lot — not necessarily the mosque’s parking lot — , where he assaulted the victim.

  • I might with equal validity ask why there were a bunch of teenagers out at 3:40 am. Doesn’t matter whether they were near a mosque or not–a bunch of kids out at that hour rarely ends without some sort of trouble. I’d say there’s a good chance this was the result of a combination of adolescent bravado and possibly intoxicants. He took her body away to try to hide the evidence. The smell of bullshit may be coming from your direction.

  • The RNS article doesn’t mention this, but this particular guy was here **illegally** from El Salvador.

    (Reported by Natalia Megas, The Daily Beast, last night, June 20.)