A decorated U.S. Marine who was beaten and robbed at a Washington D.C. McDonald’s said this morning that the attack was a "hate crime."
Veteran Marine Sgt. Christopher Marquez, who earned a Bronze Star for his heroism in Iraq, spoke out today in an exclusive Fox and Friends interview.
Marquez said that four or five males - along with at least one female - asked him if "black lives mattered" to him as he was eating last Friday.
He said at first he ignored the group, thinking they were just teens being rowdy.
Marquez said he remembers telling the teens to leave him alone, but his memory is "fuzzy" after that.
He said that the store manager later told him the teens jumped him as he exited the restaurant.
One of the teens hit him in the head from behind - possibly with an object of some kind - knocking him unconscious before the group robbed him.
When he arrived back at his apartment complex, the police were called and Marquez was taken to the hospital.
Marquez said there is no doubt in his mind that the attack was racially-motivated and said that these types of attacks have increased in the area.
"I'm telling this to everybody because it's been happening a lot around here and across our country. It was a hate crime. They targeted me because of my skin color. So, we're seeing a lot of these events of people being attacked because they're white. And I'm thinking we have to speak up more about this because it's just going to continue to happen," said Marquez.
He also said he wants to find and pay the cab driver who brought him home home free of charge, since he lost his money and bank cards.
Marquez was famously photographed carrying out a fellow sergeant from the “Hell House” during the Battle of Fallujah - later adapted into two iconic “No Man Left Behind” statues.
He told Brian Kilmeade that when he fought in Iraq, he was fighting on behalf of Americans of all backgrounds and races.
"I found it very ironic because the person calling me a racist was the actual racist. And, they have no idea about my background, what I did for this country, or what other people like myself do everyday for this country."
Watch the full interview above.