June 27, 2018 at 3:33 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Gay attorney found dead in car died of drug overdose
Daniel Potucek, gay news, Washington Blade

Daniel Potucek (Photo via Linkedin)

A 34-year-old gay attorney who was found dead in a parked car on March 31 on a street near four D.C. gay clubs with no signs of injury died from “methylenedioxy-methamphetamine toxicity,” according to the city’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

A spokesperson for the office said D.C. resident Daniel Potucek’s death from the drug, commonly known as MDMA or ecstasy, has been ruled as an accident.

D.C. police said Potucek was found unconscious sitting in the front passenger seat of a Mazda SUV parked in front of a row house at 2004 8th Street, N.W., about 7:40 a.m. Saturday, March 31, by a pedestrian.

People who knew him posted messages on social media, including Facebook, saying he was gay and patronized at least one of the four gay clubs located within two blocks of where his body was found.

LGBT activists expressed concern at the time Potucek was found, when authorities said they couldn’t immediately determine the cause of death, because of reports of assaults of gay men in the area that some believed to be hate crimes.

Since April 15, D.C. police have reported that one or more male suspects have attacked male victims in different locations in the city while yelling anti-gay slurs. Police have made arrests in two of the five incidents, all of which have been listed as suspected hate crimes.

Potucek’s LinkedIn page showed at the time of his death that he had worked as an attorney for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration since 2013. He was a graduate of Harvard Law School and received his bachelor’s degree in international studies from Duke University, his LinkedIn page said.

The initial mystery surrounding his death was heightened when the owner of the car in which Potucek was found told police he did not know Potucek and had no idea how he found his way inside the vehicle.

Potucek’s mother, Lorinda Potucek, told NBC 4 News that she had many questions about the circumstances surrounding her son’s death. “We all think, with beyond a reasonable doubt, that there’s more to this story,” NBC 4 News quoted her as saying. “Daniel always has made it home.”

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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