Death of man found in Columbia Heights ruled a homicide

The death of Gaurav Gopalan, who was found dead in Columbia Heights on Sept. 10, has been ruled a homicide by the D.C. Office of the Medical Examiner.

Gopalan died from a “sub-arachnoid hemorrhage due to blunt-impact head trauma,” said spokeswoman Beverly Fields Monday. “The manner of death is homicide.”

A subarachnoid hemorrhage is bleeding between the brain and the thin tissues that surround it, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Gopalan’s body was found by a passerby early on a Saturday morning in the 2600 block of 11th Street NW with no significant visible trauma. Although he lived a few blocks away on 13th Street NW, he remained unidentified for three days.

Police held a press conference and released a post-mortem photograph hoping to learn his name; at the time, police said they did not know whether Gopalan was a victim of a crime.

Gopalan, 35, was an aeronautical engineer who had been active in local theater. He held a PhD from the University of Maryland and was a researcher there at the Clark School of Engineering. Friends said he had had also been involved with the former Washington Shakespeare Company, with credits as a director and stage manager.

Gopalan attended college in India. Police said they notified his relatives through the embassy of Nepal.

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