An Iraq war veteran who was hospitalized in Washington, D.C., on Friday night spoke out about his attack. He was allegedly beaten by a group of teenagers after they asked him if believed in Black Lives Matter.
The New York Daily News reports that decorated Marine Chris Marquez was eating at a Washington, D.C., McDonald’s restaurant on 911 E St., N.W., when he was approached by a group of disorderly teenagers who began teasing and provoking him. According to Marquez, when they asked if he believed in Black Lives Matter, he put his head down, didn’t answer, and kept eating because he felt threatened.
— Öpir (@YonaOlson) February 16, 2016
“They asked me if I believe that black lives matter. I felt threatened and thought they were trying to intimidate me, so I figured I’m just going to keep to my food, eat my food, and hopefully they’ll leave me alone. And because I wasn’t responding back to them, they were calling me a racist.”
Washington, D.C’s WJLA reports that Marquez said the next sequence of events remain blurry, but McDonald’s manager DeAnthony Mason, who reviewed security footage, told him that as he left the restaurant, the group of teenagers — two black males and one black female — followed him outside. A male wearing a white T-shirt is seen on the surveillance footage hitting Marquez in the head, knocking him unconscious.
“As soon as I walked out of the McDonald’s I got hit in the back of the head, or the side of the head. I just dropped to the ground, and he says I looked unconscious.”
Marquez gained consciousness and found a cab driver who took him to his apartment, located across from American University, where he currently attends school. Lobby workers noticed his injuries and called an ambulance to take him to the George Washington Hospital, where he was treated for head trauma and an eye contusion. He also had numerous bumps and bruises on his body and face.
The attack, according to Marquez, brought back memories of being in Iraq. He’s an eight-year U.S. veteran of the Iraq War. He served between 2003-2011 and received the Bronze Star during his first deployment.
“Kinda brought back memories of the war and stuff.”
The veteran shared a photo of himself in Fallujah, where he helped rescue another Marine, a picture that helped inspire the “No Man Left Behind” sculptures. One of the sculptures was unveiled in November, 2014, at the Wounded Warrior Battalion in Camp Pendleton, California.
Military.com reports that the statue depicts “Marine 1st-Sgt. Brad Kasal, bloodied but unbowed, was being helped from house-to-house fighting in Fallouja by lance corporals Chris Marquez and Dane Shaffer. In one hand, Kasal gripped his 9-millimeter Beretta, in the other, his K-bar knife.”
Meanwhile, Marquez, still in pain from the attack, simply hopes that the teens are caught before they attack someone else.
“My head really hurts. I get this sharp pain, straight down my face, and I haven’t really slept too well at all since it happened. I just want them to get caught, especially if they’re doing this to other people.”
Along with reportedly jumping and beating Marquez, the teens allegedly took his wallet and credit cards. Police state that the credit cards were used right after the attack. Around $115 was charged at various places, including a liquor store, Five Guys restaurant, and Walmart. His wallet also contained around $400 in cash, his VA card, his driver’s license, and his school I.D.
Sgt. Maj Brad Kasal being carried to safety by Chris Marquez (L) and Dane Shaffer (R) in Fallujah. ( https://t.co/k3LtVHa1sC
— John Lewis (@lewis1946) February 16, 2016
Marquez believes the incident was a hate crime and that the teens were targeting white people, something he doesn’t agree with, as he served alongside other Marines of many different races.
“I believe this was a hate crime and I was targeted because of my skin color. When I was in the Marine Corps, I served with people from many different backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, and races. Like all Marines, I fought for the freedom of all Americans and not just one particular group.”
So far, there have been no arrests associated with the incident. Anyone with any information about the Iraq vet attack should call the police.
[Photo by Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images]