Killing of Muslim teenager not being investigated as a hate crime, police say – Washington Post

The killing of a Muslim teenager in Virginia is being investigated as a road-rage incident, Fairfax County Police said Monday.

Police say the suspect, Darwin Martinez Torres, was driving as a group that included Nabra Hassanen was walking and riding bikes in and along the road. “Our investigation at this point in no way indicates the victim was targeted because of her race or religion,” police said in a statement.

Police planned a news conference later today to discuss the case.

On Sunday, police found the girl’s remains after the mosque had reporting her missing and Torres, 22, has been charged with murder in connection with the case.

Relatives identified the girl as Nabra Hassanen of Reston. Prosecutors said Nabra was 16-years-old, but police had initially said she was 17.

Relatives identified the slain teen as Nabra Hassanen, 17, right, of Reston. (All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center)

On Sunday night as family and friends gathered, Sawsan Gazzar the teenager’s ’s mother, said, “pray for me that I can handle this. … I lost my daughter, my first reason for happiness.”

Torres was held without bond following a brief arraignment Monday in Fairfax County juvenile court. All cases involving juveniles are heard in juvenile court in Virginia, even if defendants are adults.

Appearing on a video monitor from the county jail, Torres spoke through a Spanish translator to answer a judge’s questions. He was appointed a public defender and his next court appearance was set for July 19.

Fairfax County prosecutors offered no new information about the case during the hearing and declined to comment afterward.

Police had initially said a possible hate-crime motivation was among the things authorities were investigating. But that changed Monday when they posted a message on Twitter saying they were not investigating the case as a hate crime. Authorities did not immediately elaborate on that statement.

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