Arrests made in brutal attack on Marine veteran

FOX 5's Matt Ackland reports.

- Police say two teenagers have been arrested in connection with the brutal attack on a Marine veteran at a D.C. McDonald's.

The attack happened on the night of February 12 at a McDonald's in D.C.'s Penn Quarter neighborhood.

The victim, Chris Marquez, told FOX 5 last week that he was eating alone at the restaurant when a group of teens approached his table before the assault occurred.

"They were asking me if I believe that black lives mattered," Marquez told FOX 5 last week.. "They asked me that a few times and I was ignoring them at first because I felt they were intimidating me. They were being hostile. That’s pretty much how they approached me and how they were talking to me and then they started calling me a racist."

Marquez was attacked outside as he was exiting the restaurant. Video of the attack released by D.C. police showed one suspect punching him in the back of the head. Another person can be seen kicking him while he was on the ground.

The suspects, a 17-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl, appeared in court on Tuesday. The male suspect has been charged with three counts of assault, including assault with a deadly weapon. He is alleged of assaulting and kicking Marquez.

The female suspect has been charged with robbery, accused of stealing Marquez's student identification card, credit cards and cash from his pocket.

During the court hearing, a D.C. detective who said he had worked 16 hours a day recently on this case was called to the stand. The detective told the court once police released the surveillance video to the public, tips came in and they helped authorities identify the suspects. Some of those tips were anonymous.

The detective said he talked to two witnesses who were at the McDonald’s and saw what led up to the assault.

A person identified as Witness No. 1 told the detective that Marquez smelled of alcohol and appeared intoxicated. He said there was a group near the door at the restaurant and when the Marquez passed by, he said, "Excuse me, ‘N word’ and then another expletive when the suspect questioned what he said.

The detective also testified about a second witness who backed up what Marquez told police. The detective said this witness saw Marquez being asked by the group about Black Lives Matter. This witness said the victim didn't respond and later observed Marquez being struck.

The detective also said he spoke to the assault suspect who claimed the victim became rowdy. He asked Marquez, “Are you a racist?” The victim told him, “No I'm not."

The detective said the suspect then told the victim, “We can fight like men outside.” The suspect also told the detective he became agitated when the victim smiled at him.

The police detective said the female suspect was identified from someone who saw the video.

The judge found probable cause in the charges against the suspects despite defense attorneys arguing against it.

We spoke with Marquez after the hearing and he told us that he had two glasses of wine earlier in the day, but was not drunk. Also, he said he never used the N-word or other expletives.

A GoFundMe campaign for Marquez has raised over $36,000.

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