- Associated Press - Friday, October 15, 2010

UPDATED:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Five men have been charged with aggravated assault in the death of a man who threw a brick through a nightclub window.

The men appeared in court Saturday. The men were initially arrested on second-degree murder charges, but the charges were reduced. The D.C. medical examiner’s office has not yet determined the cause of Ali Ahmed Mohammed’s death, and the charges against the men could be elevated if Mohammed’s death is ruled a homicide.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier says Mohammed was denied entry to the DC9 nightclub along the U Street corridor early Friday and returned to throw a brick through the window. The five men then chased and assaulted him.

ORIGINAL POST:

WASHINGTON (AP) — A nightclub owner and four employees have been charged with beating a man to death after he threw a brick through the club’s window, in a case of what D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier called “vigilante justice.”

Ali Ahmed Mohammed, 27, of Silver Spring, Md., was denied entry to the DC9 nightclub along the U Street corridor around 2:30 a.m. Friday, Lanier said, but he returned to throw a brick through the window.

That’s when the club owner and four employees chased Mohammed down the block, then tackled and beat him, police said. When officers arrived, all five men were still on the scene and Mohammed was in critical condition, Lanier said. He was taken to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“In my opinion, you talk about a beating like this as a result of property damage, someone has lost his life in a savage beating in what appears to be vigilante justice, it’s ridiculous,” Lanier said.

Police say club owner William Spieler, 46, and employees Reginald Phillips, 22; Evan Preller, 28; Arthur Zaloca, 25; and Darryl Carter Jr., 23, have all been charged with second-degree murder. Zaloca is from Silver Spring, and the other men live in Washington.

Lanier said she would close the club Friday. Emergency powers allow her to close establishments for 96 hours.

The club has canceled or moved acts that were scheduled to perform over the next few days.

“DC9 is deeply saddened by the tragic events that have occurred,” a note posted on the club’s website Friday reads. “Our condolences go out to the family of the victim. … We very much look forward to our day in court.”

DC9 manager KT Robeson told TBD that he saw the men chase Mohammed and subdue him, but not in a violent way.

“Who beats someone up and then calls the cops?” Robeson asked. “That’s ridiculous.”

Other representatives of the club declined further comment.

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