Caught on Tape: Critically Injured Man Ignored and Neglected

The victim falls after being punched by the man whose arm is extended.
WASHINGTON - A brutal attack was caught on tape outside of a District grocery store. But perhaps what's more disturbing is the number of people who walked by the injured man and never stopped to help.
It happened about 5:15 p.m. Tuesday near the intersection of 14th Street and Parkwood Place in Columbia Heights. Twenty-four minutes would elapse before medical help arrived. Sources tell us the victim is on life support with bleeding on the brain. He is not expected to survive.

The video shows the 31-year-old homeless man being punched by a man in a black coat, knocking him to the ground. The victim sits up, and eventually gets back up. Then a 2nd homeless man enters the picture wearing a black and red coat. At about 5:20, the second homeless man appears to push the victim, who was knocked over and, sources say, hit his head on the back of minivan.

Although he later makes some motions, the victim never gets back up.

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The victim was "pushed into the car," said witness Pedro Garcia, who said the incident stemmed from an argument over a single beer.

Garcia was one of several witnesses, none of whom called police.

What happens next? Nothing. For 19 minutes, no one calls 911. Two men pulled the victim's head off the curb and pulled him onto the sidewalk. A couple of times they unsuccessfully try to pull him up. As of all it unfolds, people walk past the victim over and over and over again. Some stop; some don't. Cars drive past. Even the owner of the van eventually loads his groceries into the vehicle and pushes away the cart, but never stops for the victim.

There are points when the victim is on the ground by himself, in the middle of Tuesday's winter storm, with no one around him and still no one stops.

"He should not have been down like that and people stepping over him -- I don't know what is going on," Columbia Heights resident Ronald Mitchell said.

"What can I do?" asked Jose Solso, a Columbia Heights resident. "That is the neighborhood. Nobody cares."

A Pan Am grocery store called 911 about 5:37 p.m., 22 minutes after the first punch, that help was summoned. Two minutes later an ambulance arrived.

"People just don't care about people," lamented Columbia Heights resident Greg Mellion. "It's a dog eat dog world."

Investigators say they have identified and arrested the two assailants in the video. They are both charged with felony assault. Homicide detectives have been assigned to investigate the attack because of the man's critical condition. If the man dies, the suspects could be charged with murder.

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