Marine says teens' attack on him was hate crime

Posted at 7:12 PM, Feb 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-22 22:27:06-05

The search continues for a group of teens who attacked a decorated Marine at a Washington, D.C., fast food restaurant.

Chris Marquez was motivated to protect his country after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"I actually wanted to fight for my country because of what happened to us," Marquez said.

The country came together, and Marquez became a Marine at Camp Pendleton.

He deployed three times to Iraq and once to Afghanistan.

In 2004, a platoon was ambushed in Fallujah. It was a death trap designed to kill Marines dubbed "House of Hell."

Marquez said there was a large living room area in the compound and enemies were firing from the staircase. Four Marines were trapped in a tiny room.

"It was too small for us to go in there, carry them out and have all our gear with us," Marquez explained.

He and another Marine dropped their weapons and courageously ran through the gunfire. They did it four times, and they came out war heroes.

A photo captured the moment they came out holding up an injured Marine. Marquez received a Bronze Star for his actions.

"You don't ever abandon your guys and leave them behind," he said.

On Feb. 12, Marquez was alone, eating at McDonald's in our nation's capital when a group of teens confronted him.

"They were asking me if I believe in black lives matter," he explained. "They were being really aggressive and hostile."

Marquez thought they were craving confrontation, so he tried to ignore them.

"Then they called me a racist," he added.

As Marquez walked out, one of the teens hit Marquez so hard he smacked his face on the sidewalk.

"It knocked me out cold," he said.

Then, someone kicked him in the head.

"I was trying to pick myself up, and another guy ran toward me and kicked me again in my head," Marquez added.

They took his wallet with his ID, VA card, $400 and credit cards.

"I saw that stuff every day in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I wasn't expecting that inside of our own country," he said.

Marquez believes it was a hate crime and said the "black lives matter" movement has become racist.

"The people calling me racist were the actual racists, in my point of view," he added. "Right now in America we're not talking about hate crimes on other groups."

You may never have met him, but Marquez was willing to give his life for your safety. Now, he wants your help to stop another attack on home soil.

"Those guys have to get caught because if they don't, they will commit another crime or maybe even kill someone," Marquez added.

A GoFundMe page was set up by someone who just wanted to help, so Marquez was not out the $400.

As of Monday evening, it had already surpassed $23,000.

Police are still searching for his attackers.