Three people seen inside a car that pulled up to a Southeast D.C. gas station attempted to use the credit card of a man who had been savagely attacked and left unconscious on Capitol Hill only 30 minutes earlier, the man's wife said Tuesday.
The Metropolitan Police Department is hoping to identify the occupants of the car in an effort to catch whoever was responsible for the Aug. 18 attack — which left 29-year-old Thomas "TC" Maslin hospitalized after he was apparently struck on the back of the head with a blunt object.
"I think this will happen again if we don't find out who is responsible here," Abigail Maslin told reporters outside the MedStar Washington Hospital Center, where her husband remained hospitalized Tuesday. "It is crucial, absolutely critical that people watch the video and we find out who is responsible for this."
Surveillance video from the Exxon gas station on the night of the attack shows a four-door white or silver Hyundai Sonata pulling up to a gas station pump and a person getting out of the driver's side door. The occupants of the car tried to use Mr. Maslin's credit card to pay, police said. In the video, the car appears to pull away without anyone pumping gas.
The gas station is on the 1200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue in Southeast, just a few blocks from the location where Mr. Maslin was found. The transaction happened less than 30 minutes from the time Mr. Maslin was last seen by friends at a nearby bar.
"I think the scary part of all that is imagining how much time went past before he eventually got help," Mrs. Maslin said.
A passer-by discovered Mr. Maslin unconscious on the doorstep of a home in the 700 block of North Carolina Avenue Southeast around 8:30 a.m. Aug. 18.
The night before, he had been out to a Washington Nationals game with friends and later stopped by the Tune Inn Restaurant and Bar for food, according to police reports. He used the credit card that was later taken to pay his bill at the restaurant and his friends left to return home around 12:30 a.m., Mrs. Maslin said. The surveillance video from the Exxon was taken at around 1 a.m. that same morning.
In addition to his credit card, Mr. Maslin's cellphone was also taken, Mrs. Maslin said. She speculated Tuesday that her husband was likely walking the short distance from the bar to their home near Eastern Market and may have taken his phone out to call her and let her know he was coming home.
The short walk would have been a familiar one.
"The ironic thing is it's the walk that I take when I go to work everyday," she said. She is a teacher at nearby Brent Elementary School. "We walk that path every single day when we are taking our baby out. There is nothing about that location that would ever have struck us as dangerous."
Last week, police officials disclosed little about the nature of the attack. They were unsure if it occurred during a robbery, but advised that robberies had been on the rise in the surrounding neighborhood. Police and elected officials were to hold a meeting to address crime in the area Tuesday night.
During the 10 days he's been in the hospital, Mrs. Maslin said her husband's condition has improved. On Monday night he was able to read a message she wrote asking him to hold up two fingers if he understood her. The fact he was able to do so was "the greatest moment."
"He's a fighter... That's a huge step from where we were when he was admitted here," she said.
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