As funeral services were held today and for Nabra Hassanen, prosecutors continue preparing a case to bring her alleged killer to justice.
The 17-year-old Reston girl was beaten to death early Sunday morning after an apparent road-rage altercation along Dranesville Road near the All Dulles Area Muslim Society center where she and other teens were returning for Ramadan services.
Darwin A. Martinez Torres, a 22-year-old El Salvadorian construction worker living in Sterling, has been charged with murder in the case.
At a press conference Tuesday night, ADAMS Youth Chaplain Joshua Salaam said Hassanen “revolutionized and inspired an entire community.”
“I’ve been a youth director for ten years, I’ve been in the military, I’ve traveled around the world, I’ve held many jobs—I have never heard group of people talk about one person like I did last night,” Salaam said. He described Hassanen as someone who led other young people to give of themselves, be the best person they can be, and lift people up when they fell down.
“If you knew her, you might possibly begin to understand why this is so hard for this community, because an angel was taken,” Salaam said. He also said the youth in the community have vowed to take her advice: “We believe in the Islamic tradition that one of the ways that we can elevate a person who has passed on away from us, to give them even more blessings after they pass away, is to continue the knowledge that they’ve left us.”
He deflected questions about whether the case should be investigated as a hate crime, reiterating the ADAMS Center’s good relationship and faith in Loudoun and Fairfax law enforcement.
“The Muslim community and ADAMS Center also has to address how people feel, and we know that people may feel that this is a hate crime and be outraged, and we’re dealing with that,” Salaam said. The ADAMS Center has provided licensed professionals for people in the community who need someone to talk to in the wake of Hassanen’s death.
Hassanen’s father, Mohmoud Hassanen Aboras, was present at the press conference but spoke only very softly and through the ADAMS Center’s Executive Imam Mohamed Magid.
“He’s saying that he wants to community to express love always to one another, regardless of religion or ethnicity or race,” Magid said. “He doesn’t want any other family to suffer losing a loved one. He wants to make sure that we don’t have this senseless crime committed against young people.”
The initial altercation occurred in Fairfax County and the Fairfax County Police Department has been leading the investigation. Martinez Torres is scheduled to appear in Fairfax County court next month.
However, because Hassanen’s body was found in a Sterling stormwater pond and the fatal assault may have occurred nearby, there is a possibility of the case moving to Loudoun’s courts for trial.
Today, Loudoun Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman said if that occurs he expects Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, led by Raymond F. Morrogh to continue with the case.
“Mr. Morrogh and I discussed the case and are in complete agreement,” Plowman said in a statement released Wednesday. “Our goals are the same, to see that the entire scope of these crimes are not separated, while maintaining a focus on maximizing offender accountability. When it was determined that either county was legally positioned to accomplish those goals, it made perfect sense for Fairfax County to retain the matter since the Fairfax County Police Department conducted the investigation.”