An ongoing dispute among teenagers, including some students at Montgomery County's John F. Kennedy High School, precipitated the fatal beating last week of a 16-year-old Silver Spring youth, authorities said yesterday.

Malik D. McCoy, a sophomore at Kennedy, died from blunt-force injuries to his head after he was beaten by at least five young attackers about 11 p.m. Friday, police said. The group had lured him out of an apartment on the 14000 block of Valleyfield Drive in the Norbeck area, police said.

Police are trying to determine who was involved in the beating and what role each member of the group played, said law enforcement sources who declined to be identified because the investigation is ongoing.

McCoy and other boys had been feuding for at least several days, law enforcement sources said. Neighbors in the area where McCoy's body was found said the argument had been going on for months, perhaps more than a year.

The nature of the dispute remains unclear, law enforcement sources said. Police have said the violence does not appear to be gang-related.

McCoy, of the 4000 block of Chesterwood Drive in Silver Spring, was awaiting trial as an adult on robbery-related charges, according to documents filed in Montgomery Circuit Court. He and another suspect were charged with assault, armed robbery, theft and conspiracy to commit armed robbery, the documents state.

McCoy and another person allegedly wielded a knife at a man in a Kmart parking lot in Silver Spring on Feb. 20, and took a cell phone and a wallet containing $8, the documents state.

Residents of the apartment complex where McCoy's body was found said yesterday that many knew of the feud between at least two groups of teenage boys, one of which included McCoy.

"This had been going on for a long time," said DeSharmyn Falden, 32. The source of the bad feelings among the boys, while unknown, "was no big deal," Falden said. "It was about somebody saying something to someone else," she said.

Yesterday, neighbors congregated in the grassy area where McCoy's body was discovered to leave cards and flowers at an impromptu memorial.

One youth, who said she was a sophomore at Kennedy but declined to give her name for fear of retribution, said she saw three cars driving around the apartment complex Friday night. "They said, 'We're going to jump Malik,' " the youth recalled. "I didn't think they were serious."

Several neighbors yesterday expressed frustration that the police have not charged anyone in the slaying. "Everybody knows about it," Falden said. "You're not going to get between five and 15 guys fighting and not have everyone know who did it. Whether they're talking to [the police] is another question."

McCoy's family moved from Detroit to Silver Spring in the summer of 2002. The victim's sister, Jamila McCoy, took a different path from her younger brother, family and friends said.

Jamila McCoy said yesterday that she is to graduate this month from Kennedy High and plans to attend Cornell University this fall. She was elected student body president this year and runs on the Kennedy cross-country team. She recently won an essay contest sponsored by the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Peace Committee of the National Capital Area.

Jamila and Malik's father, Steve McCoy, is executive director of the Capper Carrollsburg on the Hill Community Development Corp. in the District. He was a District police officer in the early 1970s before moving to Detroit, according to the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, which featured him in a Feb. 23 article about community activists.

Malik McCoy was the second high school student in less than a week to die after being beaten by youths in Washington's Maryland suburbs.

On May 30, Michael A. Bassett, 18, of Oxon Hill was attacked by a group of teenagers outside a 7-Eleven store in Suitland and was hit by two cars after being left unconscious in the road, authorities said.

Staff researcher Bobbye Pratt contributed to this report.