DC9 Death Clouds Venue’s Future; Owner, 4 Others Arrested; No Ruling from Medical Examiner
UPDATE | 2:56 p.m., Oct. 16: The defendants from DC9 were arraigned Saturday on charges of aggravated assault, not murder. Four of them were released, and the fifth will be released soon, as well. But the Washington Post says police may increase the charges again after the medical examiner rules on the cause of death.
UPDATE | 8:35 p.m.: The Washington Post says the case has not been ruled a homicide:
Officials at the Medical Examiner's Officer say they have not ruled Mohammed's death a homicide. They would not elaborate. Police had called a press conference for 3:45 p.m. Friday to possibly amend the charges, according to sources. But that news conference was canceled.
"We don't have cause of death yet," Police Chief Cathy Lanier said in an email. The autopsy was not yet complete, she said.
So far, those arrested have not yet been arraigned.
UPDATE | 5:30 p.m.: Washington City Paper's Brendan Baumgardner talks to a number of DC9 neighbors to take the pulse of the neighborhood following Friday morning's death.
UPDATE | 4:52 p.m.: The cause of death is still pending and according to TBD, the medical examiner's office "was 'leaning away' from deeming the man's death a homicide." Via DCist: "An arraignment in the case was originally scheduled to take place this afternoon, but has been postponed until tomorrow at 11 a.m."
UPDATE | 1:02 p.m.: Some DC9 shows for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday have been moved to the Rock & Roll Hotel. On its website, DC9 says:
We are deeply saddened by the tragic events that have occurred. Our condolences go out to the family of the victim.
We first and foremost support our friends, family, and employees of DC9. DC9 is a special environment of some of strongest friendships that could only be compared to a close family, which we consider ourselves.
We very much look forward to our day in court
Stand strong bars & stars
As more details about the incident have come to light, some have questioned the MPD's versions of events. Via TBD:
DC9 manager KT Robeson says that the victim was not beaten, but merely restrained. "Whatever he died from had to do with something pre-existing," Robeson says. "He was not beaten, that is a lie." Another DC9 employee told ABC 7 a similar tale, saying DC9 employees were holding down the man, waited for police to arrive, and watched police put him into the back of a cop car.
UPDATE | 12:16 p.m.: An MPD spokesperson says the victim is 27-year-old Ali Ahmed Muhammed. DC9 co-owner Bill Spieler is one of the four five DC9 employees charged with second-degree murder, MPD says. The other four are: Darryl Carter Jr., Reginald Phillips, Evan Preller, and Arthur Zaloca Zaloga—all employees of the club.
The spokesperson said MPD is moving to shut down the club for 96 hours under the police chief's emergency powers. TBD has reported that employees of the club say Muhammed was restrained, not beaten.
Early this morning, a man was beaten outside of DC9 at 9th and U streets NW, and later died of his injuries. According to the The Washington Post and TBD, he threw a brick through the club's window, at which point five people emerged from the club, chased him down, and "severely beat him." Police were notified and the man was taken to a hospital, where he died.
Five suspects have been arrested. According to Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham, the suspects are employees of the club. He writes in a message on the U Street News e-mail list this morning:
An intoxicated person was put out of DC-9 at 1940 9th St. He returned and somehow managed to gain admittance. And was put out again. He then returned and threw two bricks (perhaps at one of the employees?) which broke the window. (Earlier that night, another patron had punched and broken a window, he was arrested for that again earlier in the evening.)
Bar employees chased the man down to the 2000 block, caught him and beat him. MPD arrived and he was transported to the hospital where he died.
Five DC 9 employees have been arrested and charged, some—at this hour—with homicide. Arraignment is this afternoon.
There are questions unresolved in this matter. But MPD is now considering using the emergency police powers of the MPD Chief to shut the establishment for up to 96 hours, allowing the ABC board hold a hearing to consider possible suspension of the alcohol license.
With a high-profile violent incident being tied to nightclub, is the indie venue toast?
In the short term, DC9's next few nights include scheduled shows by My Dear Disco, Futurebirds, Light Pollution, and MillionYoung. My Dear Disco was originally going to perform tonight at the new Red Palace, which shares a booker with DC9. This week was to be the Red Palace's first, following a merge of the venues the Red and the Black and Palace of Wonders. But the first two concerts at the Red Palace had to be canceled—Friday night's My Dear Disco show was moved to DC9, Saturday's Xiu Xiu show was canceled altogether.
Stay tuned for developments. Police Chief Cathy Lanier will give a statement in front of MPD headquarters at 11:45 a.m., an MPD spokesperson said.