Police ask for the community’s assistance
It is with great sadness that we report that the death of Gaurav Gopalan, an aerospace engineer who doubled as a director, dramaturge and production manager, has been ruled a homicide.
A passerby found the thirty-five-year-old artist and scientist unconscious on a street near his Columbia Heights home on September 10. He died shortly thereafter. Because he had been wearing women’s clothes, some had speculated that he was the victim of a hate crime.
However, the District of Columbia Medical Examiner issued a preliminary autopsy finding no blunt trauma or external injuries. Gopalan had suffered a massive brain hemorrhage, which appeared to be caused by an embolism, Gopalan’s partner, Bob Shaeffer, told DC Theatre Scene.
Today the Medical Examiner reversed itself, concluding that Gopalan had suffered “blunt impact head trauma,” according to Beverly Fields, the ME’s Chief of Staff. Ms. Fields was unable to explain why the blunt impact head trauma went undetected in the preliminary autopsy.
The ME’s changed position seemed to take the DC Police Department by surprise. Contacted at 1:30 this afternoon, Police Department Spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump said that she was unaware that the ME had ruled Gopalan’s death a homicide and had no information as to why the ME had reversed the conclusions it had made in its preliminary autopsy.
According to Capt. Michael Farish of the Metropolitan Police, Gopalan’s car, originally seen being driven by someone after his death, has been recovered. Anyone with information which they believe could be helpful to the investigation is asked to contact:
Detective William Covington
(202) 645-3421 (Desk)
(202) 489-1914 (Cell)
Detective Ray Shields
(202) 645-6364 ( Desk)
(202) 438-8855 (Cell)