A former U.S. Marine was assaulted at a downtown Washington McDonald’s restaurant Friday night in an attack the victim said was racially motivated, according to D.C. police.
Christopher Andrew Marquez — who attends American University and ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2014 in California — said in an interview that the attack occurred after several black youths asked him whether “black lives matter” and then called him racist.
Marquez, who is Hispanic, called the incident unprovoked. It occurred at the restaurant in the 900 block of E Street NW.
According to a D.C. police report, Marquez, 30, told officers that a group of at least four youths were loud and began to argue with him. The report says Marquez told police that one youth hit him in the face with a handgun and stole bank cards and his wallet with $400 inside. The incident was first reported by the Daily Caller, a conservative Internet news and opinion site.
Police could not verify the motive as described by Marquez and said they are continuing to look into the case. Dustin Sternbeck, the chief D.C. police spokesman, said detectives are reviewing surveillance video of the assault but it was not immediately clear what it shows.
“It’s an active investigation, and in this case, as in any other, we’re going to investigate it to the fullest,” Sternbeck said.
Marquez told The Washington Post he had just come from a book signing when he stopped at the McDonald’s. He said he was eating in a back corner when a group of teens and young men approached. “They saw me and crowded around my table, and they started asking me if I believed black lives matter,” Marquez said. “I was ignoring them, then they started calling me racist.”
Marquez said they were trying to intimidate him, and soon after he said things got fuzzy. He said he believes he was hit in the back of the head with what might have been a pistol. Marquez flagged a cab and returned to his apartment complex, where a worker at the front desk called police. He was treated at George Washington University Hospital. He said he contacted the restaurant manager about the incident, who he said provided him with some details of the attack. The manager could not be reached for comment.
As a Marine, Marquez fought in the battle of Fallujah as an infantryman. He served eight years in the Marines, deploying to both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a recipient of the Bronze Star Medal.