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Monday, Oct. 3, 2011 5:57 p.m.

MPD continues investigating graduate student homicide case

Metropolitan Police are continuing to investigate Patrick David Casey’s death as a homicide, following evidence that Casey was “irritating” other patrons – but not instigating a fight – at the McDonald’s restaurant just off campus where he sustained a severe head injury Sept. 23.

“There are indications that he had been drinking that night,” MPD spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said. She said the department is waiting for autopsy information, including his blood alcohol content, from the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Casey, a 33-year-old Afghanistan war veteran, incurred head trauma after falling onto the concrete when a verbal argument intensified into a physical confrontation outside the 1916 M St., NW eatery early that day. MPD ruled the death a homicide resulting from “blunt force trauma” Friday after initially looking into the case as a felony assault.

“We have indications Mr. Casey did push or throw a subject to the ground immediately preceding his being pushed or punched, which resulted in his falling to the ground and striking his head,” Crump said. “There are currently no charges being filed as the investigation continues. The determination as to whether or not anyone is charged will be made after the investigation has been completed.”

The native of Clifton Park, N.Y. was pronounced brain dead Tuesday and legally declared dead Thursday. His mother, Gail Casey, said last week that GW Hospital tried for four days to keep him alive.

Investigators have identified suspects and are conducting interviews, MPD officer Araz Alali said Friday, but will not release security camera footage that caught the altercation to the public.

The D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy Thursday. Beverly Fields, chief of staff at the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, did not return a request for comment on autopsy results.

Casey, who friends and family said had a contagious smile, moved to the District in early August to earn a master’s from the Elliott School of International Affairs. He was a “big teddy bear” in a 6-foot-4-inch frame, they said.

“I mean, people use the term gentle giant, and that was Pat,” Jeremy Nevil, 32, said of his best friend.

The University will hold a memorial service for Casey at Veterans Park, located at 22nd and G streets, Oct. 6 at 6 p.m.

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