The Crime Scene: Death in DC9 case ruled a homicide

By Paul Duggan
Tuesday, December 21, 2010; 5:47 PM

A man who died in a controversial incident outside the popular DC9 nightclub in October was a victim of a homicide, the D.C. medical examiner's office has concluded.

Ali Ahmed Mohammed, 27, of Silver Spring, died of "excited delirium associated with arrhythmogenic cardiac anomalies, alcohol intoxication and physical exertion with restraint manner," the office said Tuesday afternoon, offering no further explanation.

That was listed as the "cause" of death. The manner of death was "homicide," the office said in a statement.

Mohammed died Oct. 15 after allegedly throwing at least one brick through the front window of the club, in the 1900 block of Ninth Street NW. Police said Mohammed was then chased by five men -- four employees and a co-owner of the club -- and died after a physical encounter with them on the street.

The five men -- including then-co-owner William Spieler, who has since disassociated himself from the club -- initially were charged with second-degree murder in what Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier called a "savage" case of "vigilante justice." The charges were later dismissed, however, because the medical examiner's office could not immediately determine the cause and manner of Mohammed's death.

Although criminal charges in the case were dismissed because of the initial lack of autopsy findings, authorities said they would not be legally barred from refiling charges if new information warranted such a move.

The autopsy finding of homicide appears to make a new criminal case likely.

But late Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Attorney's office released a statement saying that officials are still investigating.

"The Medical Examiner has now completed an autopsy related to the unfortunate death of Ali Ahmed Mohammed." the statement said. "The Medical Examiner's forensics examination has concluded that a variety of factors led to the death of Mr. Mohammed, and we intend to carefully study these conclusions as part of our legal analysis of this tragic incident.

"Our deliberate and comprehensive factual inquiry continues, and we again express our sincere appreciation to the family of Mr. Mohammed for their patience and understanding as we work to reach a just conclusion to our investigation."

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