Thomas Maslin Struck with BB Gun in Violent Eastern Market Robbery
WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A man assaulted in Washington’s Capitol Hill neighborhood last month was struck with a BB gun, punched to the ground and robbed of his credit card and cell phone, according to court papers filed Thursday that charge three people in the attack and that credit a citizen’s tip with helping to crack the case.
The three suspects are also accused of robbing two other men in a separate neighborhood hours after attacking Thomas Maslin, who was assaulted near Eastern Market while on his way home from a Washington Nationals game and having drinks with friends at a bar, police said. They were ordered held without bond following an appearance Thursday in D.C. Superior Court.
Police Chief Cathy Lanier announced their arrests during a press conference Wednesday evening.
The robbery, shortly after midnight on Aug. 18, stoked neighborhood concerns in a bustling retail and residential area seen as family-friendly and generally safe. It also left Maslin, who was found unconscious eight hours later on the front porch of a Capitol Hill row house, with severe injuries: The married father of a young child was in a coma for at least six days, has undergone multiple brain surgeries and remains unable to walk or feed himself, police said.
Police on Wednesday announced the arrests of 18-year-Michael Moore of Landover, Md., 21-year-old Tommy Branch of Fort Washington, Md., and Sunny Kuti, a 17-year-old who is being prosecuted as an adult. Lawyers for Moore, Branch and Kuti didn’t immediately return phone calls seeking comment from The Associated Press.
Maslin was walking by himself near Eastern Market when the three suspects confronted him, with Kuti pulling out a “fake-me-out” BB gun and striking Maslin with it, the police said.
“All I got is my phone and my card,” Maslin is quoted as saying before being attacked.
Detectives released surveillance video from an Exxon gas station where Maslin’s credit card was unsuccessfully used just after he was assaulted. An unidentified person who saw the video on television news reports recognized a Hyundai Sonata at the station and told detectives the car belonged to Branch, according to court papers. Police found the same car in a parking lot near Branch’s home. Branch and Moore admitted their roles in the assault during questioning this week, police affidavits say.
Authorities said the same three suspects had already been charged with beating and robbing two other men in the Adams Morgan neighborhood hours after the attack on Maslin. One of the victims in that case told police that he was checking his text messages when Branch tackled him to the ground and said, “Give me everything.” The three suspects were arrested quickly after that robbery when they were seen running nearby. Police say they were carrying the belongings of the victims of the second robbery— as well as a black iPhone that did not belong to any of them.
Police obtained a search warrant for the phone and later determined that it belonged to Maslin, police said.
The three suspects were charged with armed robbery for the second assault but were released by a judge into a high-intensity supervision program.
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