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The GW Hatchet

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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Police identify assault suspect

Police have identified a suspect in the assault on a graduate student in Duques Hall last month as 42-year-old Mohammed N. Niazi of Staunton, Va.

Detective Neil Jones of the Metropolitan Police Department said Niazi has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon stemming from an Oct. 9 incident in which a man used a hammer to attack a student in a second-floor Duques bathroom. The student was hit in the back of the head, causing a 3-inch gash and major, but not life-threatening, injuries, according to an MPD police report. The student was taken to GW Hospital, but released later that night.

Niazi should be considered armed and dangerous, according to a GW campus advisory, and is being described as a “light-complexioned male, possibly of Middle-Eastern descent, 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing approximately 160 pounds.”

University Police Chief Dolores Stafford said Niazi was identified “through tips that GWPD and MPD were able to investigate.” Jones said police identified him as a suspect on Oct. 16, but the campus advisory was not released until Oct. 29.

Jones said MPD pulled his photo, which was published in the campus advisory, from the Department of Motor Vehicles. It is unclear whether Niazi has any past criminal record; Jones said he could not disclose any information relating to a history.

Jones also said police are unsure why he was in D.C., and while they are also unsure of his current location, they “know where he’s not.”

“We know he’s not in Staunton,” he said.

One of Niazi’s former professors, who requested anonymity, said Niazi had received a Ph.D. in Germanics from the University of Washington in 2001. The professor said he lost track of Niazi after the program and had no idea why Niazi had moved to the Virginia or D.C. area.

The professor also said he was unsure whether the alleged behavior was normal for Niazi because their “exchanges were always centered around academic or scholarly matters.”

According to a GW Infomail from last month, there has been no evidence to indicate the victim and suspect knew one another, and the Oct. 9 incident appears to have been a random act of violence. Jones said police are still “operating on the idea that it was random.”

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