Muslim girl killed in Virginia; police blame "road rage"

FAIRFAX, Va. (KABC) -- A Virginia man has been charged with murder after police said he assaulted and killed a Muslim teenage girl near a mosque.

Sadness and grief gripped those who knew Nabra Hassanen.

"She's very sweet heart. She's like humble. She was very nice, you know, I'm very sad," said Abas Sherif, a family friend and spokesperson.

The 17-year-old and a group of friends were walking back to the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque from a McDonald's in the Sterling area between 3 and 4 a.m. Sunday when a man drove up and some kind of altercation ensued.

When the man got out of his car, the girls ran away and didn't realize until later that Nabra wasn't with them, WRC-TV in Washington reported.

"What the investigators told the father and the mother, he hit her in the head and then he put her in the car, and then he threw her in the water," Sherif said.

Shortly after the incident, police in the area noticed a car driving suspiciously and conducted a traffic stop.

The driver, 22-year-old Darwin Martinez Torres, was taken into custody and charged with murder.

Torres was questioned near the scene of the attack and led officers several miles away to a retention pond across the street from his apartment complex where a female body, believed to be the girl's, was found at about 3 p.m. Sunday.

"What investigators told the father and the mother, he hit her in the head and put her in the car and he threw her in the water," Sherif said.

Police blamed "road rage" as the root of this murder, saying they have no information to indicate the killing was a hate or bias-motivated crime.

"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," a Fairfax Police Department statement said.

"Our investigation at this point in no way indicates the victim was targeted because of her race or religion," police added.

Nabra is remembered as a devout Muslim and a good person.

"She came to do her break, so all her, what she did, she came here for the month of Ramadan to do her prayer," Sherif said.

Torres was arraigned Monday in Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and ordered held without bail pending a July 19 court appearance.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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