Fairfax County Police department identified the cold murder of Nabra Hassanen as a likely “road rage incident” and not a hate crime.
The 17-year-old Muslim girl was walking with her friends back to her mosque after breakfast before sunrise, when a 22-year-old man, identified as Darwin Martinez Torres, allegedly shouted slurs at them.
Feeling threatened, the group of girls ran towards the safety of the mosque, the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS), but realized they had left Hassanen behind.
They informed the police, who later found the girl’s remains in a pond near Ridgetop Circle in Sterling, Virginia. She was reportedly also sexually assaulted and police believe she was beaten with a bat.
Torres was arrested and charged with murder. However, he will not be charged with a hate crime because of insufficient evidence.
According to the police, there was no indication of any racial or ethnic slurs being exchanged between Torres and the group when they encountered each other.
They believe Torres got frustrated after getting in an argument with one of the 15 teenagers who were walking and riding their bikes in that location. And the “fit of anger” led him to abduct and murder Hassanen.
"There is nothing at this point to indicate that this tragic case was a hate crime," said Julie Parker, a spokeswoman for the Fairfax County Police Department.
“Torres was able to catch Nabra,” the police said in a statement posted online. “His anger over the encounter led to violence when he hit Nabra with a baseball bat.”
“This tragic case appears to be the result of a road rage incident involving the suspect, who was driving and who is now charged with murder, and a group of teenagers who was walking and riding bikes in and along a roadway,” the department stated.
However, contrary to what the Fairfax County police department thinks, Hassanen’s father Mohmoud Hassanen believes his daughter’s murder was motivated by Islamophobia.
When The Guardian asked him if his daughter was killed "because she was Muslim" his response was, “I believe so, 100 percent. In the McDonald’s there’s a lot of kids, a lot of people; why did he run behind this girl especially? For what?”
Referring to the Fairfax county police’s version, he said, “I don’t believe this story.”
“I tell the detective the same thing. He (Torres) killed my daughter because she is Muslim. That’s what I believe. That’s what I told him.”
“He followed the girls, and all of them had head cloths, meaning they are Muslim, and he had a baseball stick,” mentioned the 60-year-old, suggesting the murder was in fact a hate crime.
“He was running behind these kids. I told the detective, ‘I want to ask him one question. Why did he do that? Because he doesn’t like Muslims, or what?’ He tells me he has no answer for that. This answer is going to be in the court.”
“When I go to court I’m going to look him in the eye: 'Why did you do this to my daughter?' Then I’m going to forgive him and leave him to God’s face. The lord is going to judge him,” added the father.
The killing of the Muslim teenager, who was going to fast for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, has shaken the Muslim community.
From Portland to Sterling, it's disturbing to see men terrorizing Muslim American woman for their faith. Do better America. #Nabra— Simar (@sahluwal) June 19, 2017
When Muslims are killed it's either "road rage" or "parking dispute" but never called what it really it is... a hate crime. #Nabra— Victor (@mexiisa) June 20, 2017
Re: Nabra. Road rage is flicking some1 off. Not swinging a bat, chasing after young girls, beating one to death and throwing her in a pond. pic.twitter.com/B0R8O2WB8G— ???? | Yusuf (@artofgettingby7) June 20, 2017
so a teenager was kidnapped and beaten to death by a man with a baseball bat and you're really going to call it road rage ?? #nabra— ??? ? (@mennacognition) June 20, 2017
A girl wearing a hijab got beaten to death with a baseball bat and they're claiming it's road rage. Where is the justice? #nabra— Rahma Radwan (@rahma_radwan) June 20, 2017