DC man who died in January's Queen Street fire ruled a homicide

- There is new information in the mysterious circumstances surrounding the January death of a Northeast D.C. man.

Awlachew Ayele was discovered dead inside his Queen Street apartment one day after telling police drug dealers had taken over his apartment. After four months of investigating, the medical examiner has ruled the 66-year-old man was murdered.

The medical examiner said Ayele died from blunt force trauma along with a combination of smoke and soot inhalation. His body discovered on January 26 under a pile of rubble inside his second-floor apartment.

The 66-year-old had been assaulted the night before the fire and a man was arrested. But D.C. police say no one has been charged with Ayele’s murder.

The circumstances behind the death of Ayele are chilling. According to his landlord, the two had gone to see D.C. police the night before the fire in order to file a complaint. Ayele said drug dealers had taken over his apartment and he wanted them out.

But before police could act, Ayele was assaulted outside his apartment later that night and his body discovered underneath the rubble the next morning. A note was written on the wall said "You going down Ayele.”

A man identified as Garrett Taylor was initially charged in the assault. That charge was later dropped and replaced with a charge of robbery. He was held for a few months before being released on high intensity supervision.

Fire investigators initially said the fire was intentionally set, but it took all this time to come to a conclusion that Ayele was murdered.

FOX 5 has so far been unable to reach his family. A friend said Ayele was originally from Ethiopia and had been homeless for a time before finding the apartment on Queen Street.

Previous Coverage:

New details on mysterious death on Queen Street in Northeast DC

Court docs: 66-year-old DC man's body buried under household debris

Mysterious circumstances surround DC man's death following fire

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