The victim of the unusual attack was identified by friends as Thomas Maslin, 29, a Capitol Hill resident. They said he is a husband and father who works as an energy analyst.
Residents said detectives told them that Maslin may have been attacked in the early hours on the street or in a small park just north of the market. Afterward, he apparently stumbled from door to door in search of help. Police did not comment on that account.
Many people in the area were away, including the residents of the house where Maslin collapsed, in the 700 block of North Carolina Avenue SE.
“He went to the first house. They are in Michigan,” said Michael A. Boudreaux, 63, who lives next door to where Maslin was found. “And then [he went to] the next house. They are at the beach.”
Police said the first 911 call, around 8:30 a.m., reported a man with a seizure. At the hospital, doctors determined he had been struck on the head with an object, a police spokesman said.
Maslin had gone to the Washington Nationals game Friday night and had stopped with friends at a tavern on Pennsylvania Avenue SE before walking on home, said a friend, Vanessa Ford.
“The only thing we know is that he was hit in the back of the head with a blunt object,” Ford said.
She said the family was asking that people take a moment at 10 a.m. Sunday to pray for or think of Maslin, who is known as TC.
Maslin’s identity was first reported by WTTG Channel 5.
Maslin works for IHS, which, according to its Web site, provides information for business decision making in the global market and economy. Ford said Maslin’s wife teaches at Brent Elementary School on Capitol Hill.
Homicide detectives are investigating. Police said the victim remained unconscious late Saturday afternoon.
Police have reported no homicides near the market this year, but statistics show a sharp rise in robberies — 14 with a gun through Aug. 12, compared with six in the corresponding period last year, and 40 without guns, up from 28 in the first eight months of 2011. There have been a few more assaults, raising the total to seven.
Residents said they feel safe but are vigilant. “When I run at 4:30 a.m., I am aware of everything around me, and I don’t run on the sidewalk,” Boudreaux said. “I run on the street.”
Staff writer Tim Craig contributed to this report.