Decorated Marine attacked outside DC McDonald's

Posted at 7:07 PM, Feb 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-18 09:00:02-05

A military war hero whose actions were memorialized in a statue at Camp Pendleton is recovering after being attacked outside of a fast food restaurant.

Chris Marquez's courage was captured in a 2004 photo as he helped carry an injured Marine to safety in Fallujah. It is one of the most memorable photos from the Iraq War.

RELATED: Iraq War sculpture unveiled at Camp Pendleton

"We went across I guess what you could call the 'kill zone,' and one by one we pulled people out," Marquez explained.

He flung himself into a death trap called the "House of Hell," which was designed to kill Marines.

Marquez put his life on the line to save others. He showed tremendous bravery overseas, only to be attacked in a cowardly way on home soil.

"It kind of brought back memories of the war and stuff," Marquez said.

On Friday, Marquez was eating at a McDonald's in Washington, D.C., when a group of strangers approached him.

"They asked me if I believe that black lives matter," he added. "I felt threatened and felt they were trying to intimidate me so I figured I'm just going to keep to my food … eat my food and hope they just leave me alone … Because I wasn't responding back, they were calling me a racist."

He said he walked out and took a blow to the head.

"I just dropped to the ground," he explained. "Everything went blurry."

The attackers got away, and Marquez said they stole his wallet and already used his credit cards.

He fought for all Americans, regardless of race, so it would be easy for him to want revenge. Instead, he wants to protect people.

"I just want them to get caught … especially if they're doing this to other people," Marquez said.