D.C. police have arrested two teenagers in connection with an attack this month on a Marine veteran who said he was beaten outside a downtown Washington McDonald’s in a racially motivated incident.
The arrests, confirmed by D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier and a department statement, come five days after the surveillance video was released showing the veteran, Christopher A. Marquez, being struck in the back of the head and then robbed as he lay face down on a sidewalk. Another man is seen kicking him before the attackers run away.
Marquez, 30, is a student at American University who served eight years in the Marines and fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was awarded a Bronze Star Medal.
Police said in a statement that a male 17-year-old was charged with aggravated assault and a female 17-year-old was charged with robbery. Their names were not made public because they were charged as juveniles. A third suspect has not been arrested.
Marquez said Tuesday morning that police told him they had made arrests and that he was on his way to talk with detectives. “I am happy and hopeful they got them,” Marquez said.
The incident occurred the night of Feb. 12 at the McDonald’s in the 900 block of E Street NW near Gallery Place and the FBI headquarters building.
In an earlier interview, Marquez said the attack was unprovoked and occurred after the group approached him in a booth and asked him whether “black lives matter,” calling him a racist when he ignored the question. Marquez is Hispanic; his assailants are black.
The video shows a man striking Marquez as he walked out of the restaurant. It shows a man rifling through his pockets; police said $400, credit cards and Marquez’s student ID were taken.
Police said they have not been able to verify the motive as described by Marquez, but they said they continue to investigate. A police report describes an argument between Marquez and at least one of the attackers.
Dustin Sternbeck, a D.C. police spokesman, said that police were able to identify the people who appeared in the video with the help of tips from residents.
Keith Alexander contributed to this report.