DC man in critical condition after he was found beaten, tied up in his burning apartment

DC man in critical condition after he was found beaten, tied up in his burning apartment. (ABC7)

Behind the broken glass, the gutted first floor apartment just off 3rd Street in Southeast DC, is in ruins.

Its walls blackened by smoke; clothes and upturned furniture are scattered everywhere.

“It was shocking,” says a female neighbor who asked to remain anonymous. “I came home from work, and all I could do is say ‘oh, my place is on fire!’”

It was just after 7 p.m. Monday night.

Many residents were just arriving home or settling in for the evening, at the Friendship Court Apartments.

Then a neighbor smelled a burning odor… and heard a voice shouting.

“She heard, and she seen smoke coming from under the door, and he said ‘help,’ hollering for help,” the neighbor says.

RELATED: Suspicious fire under investigation in Southeast D.C.

Arriving firefighters, alerted by a neighbor’s 911 call, rushed into the burning apartment.

Inside, they found a man in his late 60s, lying on the floor, “suffering from injuries to his face, and his hands restrained behind his back,” according to an MPD incident report.

Residents are convinced this was a case of foul play, perhaps even attempted murder.

“One of my neighbors told me someone went into the apartment, beat him up, tied him up, and set the place on fire,” the woman says.

Fire crews were able to get the man out of the apartment, and into a waiting ambulance.

“People say they brought the old man out of here messed up, tied up, beat up, messed up, and they took him to the hospital,” neighbor Davis Bey says.

Homicide detectives, normally assigned to cases involving arson-related assault, are telling DC Police Chief Peter Newsham they are making ‘pretty good progress’ on the investigation.

Newsham says the victim suffered head injuries and is being treated for smoke inhalation.

He’s now in critical condition at a local hospital.

“He’s in pretty serious condition, but he’s expected to survive,” the Chief says.

Now it appears this was not a random attack.

“There was no forced entry into the home,” Newsham says. “So it appears like there was some dispute that occurred while the victim was in the house with someone else.”

The female neighbor tells ABC7 News she’s known the victim for years; even attends church services with him.

She describes him as a quiet man, now on disability, who lives alone, except for occasional visits by his daughter.

She’s as puzzled as anyone as to why someone would attack her neighbor.

“He mind his business, speak to everybody,” she says “He don’t bother nobody. I don’t know why…”

The fire forced residents in twelve units to evacuate; five families are now staying in hotels with the help of the Red Cross.

While police continue looking for suspects, there is plenty of anger at whoever did this crime.

“I hope the old guy is okay,” Bey says. “I have no sympathy for whoever did it. If they get caught, they need to be punished for something like this. You jeopardized everybody’s life who lives in there.”

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