A memorial for murdered Muslim teen Nabra Hassanen was set on fire in a park in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, but officials said the vandal wasn't targeting the memorial specifically.
Firefighters arrived at the memorial at Dupont Circle around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday and put out the fire.
Twenty-four-year-old Jonathon Soloman of North Carolina was arrested for allegedly setting the fire, Fox 5 DC reported. The U.S. Park Police said that Soloman set several items from the park on fire and was not intentionally targeting the memorial.
Hassanen was murdered early Sunday morning as she walked with a group of teens to a mosque in Fairfax County. The suspect in the murder, Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, allegedly got into an argument with a teen in Hassanen’s group who was riding a bicycle, and became enraged. Torres then reportedly pulled over and chased the teens with a baseball bat, attacking Hassanen.
Torres then allegedly took Hassanen in his car to another location and attacked her again, and her body was found in a pond Sunday afternoon. Authorities are investigating whether she was sexually assaulted at some point during the attacks.
Torres was arrested and charged with murder.
Vigils for Hassanen were held at Dupont Circle and in other major cities Tuesday, with more planned for Wednesday. A GoFundMe campaign set up by friends had raised nearly $75,000 by Wednesday night.
“I’m speechless. Nabra was brutally abducted & murdered. If that wasn’t horrible enough, we can’t even mourn in peace,” blogger Rowaida Abdelaziz tweeted after learning of the memorial fire.
Twitter followers were skeptical the incident was random and speculated that it was racially motivated.
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