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Police Make Arrests in Thomas Maslin Case

As the Capitol Hill neighborhood reels from recent criminal activity, the Metropolitan Police Department has delivered some good news.

The MPD’s First District Detectives Office announced Wednesday that officers had arrested three people suspected of robbing Capitol Hill resident Thomas Maslin on Aug. 18 and beating him into a coma.

Maslin was discovered on the front porch of a home near Eastern Market, down the street from the home of Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and a short walk from the Capitol campus.

According to the MPD, the three people arrested were 21-year-old Tommy Tyrone Branch of Fort Washington, Md., 18-year-old Michael Moore of Landover, Md., and a juvenile male.

“I can not say enough about how heartbreaking it is to see that a piece of property or a cellphone will cause someone the type of injury and grief that these three individuals have caused the Maslin family, and they will live with for the rest of their lives,” MPD Police Chief Cathy Lanier said at a Wednesday press conference.

Maslin, 29, survived the attack and is recovering after sustaining severe head injuries. The assault shook a community already reeling from an uncharacteristically high volume of armed robberies.

According to statistics provided by MPD to the Washington Post, Eastern Market experienced 14 thefts accompanied by guns from the first of this year to Aug. 12; there were six such events in 2011. There were 40 unarmed robberies in the same time period this year, 28 more than in the same eight-month period in 2011.

Ten days after the attack on Maslin, Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells (D) convened a community meeting with Lanier to brief residents on the situation, and share what measures were being taken to prevent this type of event from happening again and to apprehend the perpetrators.

At the meeting, Lanier said the MPD meets three times a week to discuss where patrols are most needed. She said the police department is using all of its resources to prevent violent robberies, including going undercover to locate businesses that are purchasing stolen electronics, the primary targets in the recent wave of thefts.

Wells indicated that the MPD was on its way to making the arrests announced on Wednesday: Officers quickly discovered videos that showed a car full of people using Maslin’s ID at a gas station.

Emily Cahn contributed to this story.