Death of Gaurav Gopalan Ruled a Homicide

By Julie Bolcer

Originally published on Advocate.com September 21 2011 8:00 AM ET

The Washington, D.C., medical examiner has classified the death of Gaurav Gopalan, who was found dead near his Columbia Heights home two weekends ago, a homicide.

The Washington City Paper reports on the finding that Gopalan, 35, died on September 10 “after suffering sub-arachnoid hemorrhage — bleeding in the space between the brain and the thin tissues that cover it — ‘due to blunt-impact head trauma,’ according to Beverly Fields, chief of staff of the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.”

Last week, Bob Shaeffer, who lived with Gopalan, said the autopsy report indicated that Gopalan likely died of natural causes, specifically, massive hemorrhaging in the brain caused by an embolism. The aerospace engineer and theater lover was found wearing women’s clothing and makeup and remained unidentified for three days.

Police initially suspected the death of Gopalan could be linked to a series of unsolved shootings and violence against transgender women in the city, including the murder of Lashay McLean in northeast D.C. in July. A woman survived a shooting in the same neighborhood less than two weeks after the murder.

The investigation into the Gopalan homicide remains open.