Attack Victim, Ignored By Passersby, Has Died

By David Betancourt
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 1, 2009

A man who was ignored by passersby for almost 20 minutes this week as he lay on a sidewalk after being assaulted in Columbia Heights has died of his injuries, D.C. police said yesterday.

The attack occurred Tuesday outside a grocery store near 14th and Parkwood streets NW. The victim, Jose Sanchez, suffered a traumatic brain injury and died Friday at Washington Hospital Center.

Two men who were recognized by store employees have been arrested and charged with aggravated assault. Police spokesman Quintin Peterson said Maxmillo Argueta, 32, of the 3500 block of 14th Street NW and Humberto Escobar, 57, of the 1300 block of Park Road NW will face new charges in light of Sanchez's death.

According to a charging document, Escobar told detectives that he punched Sanchez and knocked him to the ground after Sanchez "called him a homosexual." Escobar said others also struck Sanchez while he was on the ground.

TV station WJLA (Channel 7) first reported yesterday that Sanchez had died. The station also said Sanchez was 31 and homeless.

The attack was captured on a store surveillance camera, which showed Sanchez in a small group on the sidewalk. A man in the group punched Sanchez, knocking him to the ground. Sanchez got back on his feet, and another man pushed him down. Sanchez apparently struck his head and did not get up again.

The videotape shows people walking by Sanchez as he lay incapacitated, although with no visible signs of trauma, for about 20 minutes. Sanchez was unconscious when police, fire and emergency medical services officials arrived.

Argueta and Escobar were arrested the next day. It was unclear yesterday whether they were represented by lawyers, and attempts to locate phone numbers for their residences were unsuccessful.

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