‘I was running around for help’: Restaurant owner speaks out after screwdriver attack in Northeast DC

Charles Oguh has owned and operated this Brookland restaurant for several years. (Courtesy Julie Oguh)
Well-wishers post a sign at the Brookland restaurant owned by Charles Oguh after he was attacked by a screwdriver. (Courtesy Julie Oguh)
Brookland Grill
According to a police report, restaurant owner Charles Oguh was struck several times before the group stole the keys to the rental SUV and drove off. (Courtesy Julie Oguh)
Brookland Grill

Every weekday at 4 a.m., Charles Oguh can be seen unloading supplies for his restaurant Brookland Grill in Northeast D.C.

It’s a restaurant he’s owned for more than 20 years, and every morning starts like all others, even last Wednesday.

As he unloaded a rental car that morning, a group of teenagers approached.

“They split into two (groups) and before you know it, they came on both sides,” Oguh said.

He would then be stabbed with a screwdriver by a masked attacker. Then he fell and hit his head on the pavement, leaving a gash.

According to a police report, Oguh was also struck several times before the group stole the keys to the rental SUV and drove off.

Oguh recalled that no one was around during or after the attack and his phone was in the car, so he couldn’t call for help himself.

“I was running around for help,” Oguh said.

He thought someone must have heard him calling for help and called 911 because police soon arrived. Oguh was then taken to the hospital.

Oguh’s wife, Julie, called his cellphone when he was not at the restaurant at opening time, but someone else picked it up.

“I thought, this is not good,” Julie Oguh said.

Oguh’s phone was found near the Rhode Island Metro Station.

Julie Oguh called the police and the arriving officer told her that her husband is in the hospital and on his way to the ICU.

“I could not get it together. Thankfully, my family member was here to drive me over there,” she said.

After several days in the hospital, Oguh was released and is now recovering at home. Since then, he said his staff, friends, family, and even residents of Brookland, have been showing up and calling to show their support. Some even offered to help work at the restaurant until he is better.

And someone put a get-well poster on his front window.

“I really, really appreciate it,” Oguh said.

According to police, the search continues for four to five people responsible for the attack. Oguh said he does not have harsh words for those responsible for his attack. Instead, he expressed concern that what took place could have left the teenagers badly injured had they targeted another victim who had a weapon.

Oguh and his wife did say that the parents of the young people should be held responsible.

“I think the parents need to look out for their kids also. I’m sorry to say that,” he said.

“I have kids; there’s no way that I would not know my kid was out in the streets,” Julie Oguh said. “The message is for the parents: Why don’t you know where your children are?”

Oguh said he is looking forward to returning to the restaurant, which is in the neighborhood his wife grew up. She said when he returns his schedule will change.

“Only thing he’s got to do is he’s got to unload in the late afternoon instead of early in the morning,” Julie Oguh said.

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Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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