Assault Raises Concerns on Capitol Hill

Posted January 30, 2004 at 2:54pm

An unusually brutal assault that occurred during the morning commute just blocks from the Capitol and left one victim with multiple broken bones and his jaw wired shut has some local Hill residents expressing concern about the inability of local police to find a suspect in a case that is now almost a month old.

The attack took place around 9 a.m. Jan. 9 near the corner of Fourth and F streets Northeast. The victim, 36-year-old Logan Circle resident Mark Bromley, has no memory of the immediate events before and during the attack. He is still recovering from injuries that broke most of the bones on the right side of his face.

“It’s a more violent mugging-type incident than we’re used to having,” said Roger Mattioli, Police Service Area 106 citizen coordinator. “There has been a lot of interest in this case … and not as much contact [from police] as we would have liked.”

The main source of concern from the community has been registered on the local PSA 106 Internet community message board, an online posting for citizens concerning police, crime and quality-of-life issues. Because of the time of day the assault occurred, residents are wondering if the neighborhood has been properly canvassed for witnesses and whether the proper resources are being put into solving the violent attack.

“I live across the street from the assault location and I can tell you that there has been no attempt by the police to canvass my family or neighbors for information,” wrote one disturbed resident last week.

Metropolitan Police detectives, who reclassified the case from an aggravated assault to a robbery after recovering Bromley’s wallet near the scene, expressed little hope that further details might arise from possible witnesses.

“We don’t know who committed the crime,” said First District detective Sgt. James Manning, who oversees the detectives working on the case. “My personal impression is there is not a witness.

“We’re willing to talk to any witnesses that might come forward,” he added.

“In that it was a mystery as to what happened this case didn’t go into the general pool of cases, it was given specifically to Detective [Joseph] Oh,” Manning said, adding that there are a group of detectives assigned exclusively to robberies who are also working on this case.

Oh, who has been on leave since Jan. 15 and returned to the First District last Thursday, said an original canvassing for witnesses occurred Jan. 15 and there are plans to canvass the neighborhood two or three more times in the coming weeks.

“We’re not trying to make the community upset or mislead the community. We want them to know we’re working on this case, we are taking this case very seriously,” Oh said. “This is one of our top priorities right now.

“But we cannot say we will arrest this person by tomorrow,” Oh added. “We are very careful about that because it might make the community upset. … Everybody’s got to be patient on cases like this.”

Oh said the police do have a profile on what they think may be multiple attackers, and the department is currently tracking down leads including stolen credit cards that may be related. “If there’s any breaking news, we’ll let the community know right away,” Oh said.

Mattioli said he expects this case will be a topic for discussion at PSA 106’s next community meeting on Feb. 12.