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Clubs on West 6th Cleveland

CLEVELAND, Ohio - A Euclid man died Friday, more than a week after he was attacked outside a downtown Cleveland nightclub.

Zachary Larney, 29, died about 2 a.m. Friday at MetroHealth Medical Center, according to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner.

He had been hospitalized and on life support following the July 25 incident on West 6th Street and Johnston Court.

Family members said a man became angry because Larney accidentally bumped into him at Rumor nightclub on West 6th Street and a scuffle broke out.

Those involved were all kicked out of the club. The men followed Larney out of the club, attacked him and beat him unconscious, according to family members.

A Cuyahoga County Sheriff deputy saw two men chasing another man. The man being chased alerted the deputy that someone had been attacked in the alley.

The deputy called for an ambulance and arrested the two men identified as the attackers, family members said.

The case is being investigated by the sheriff's department, even though the incident took place in Cleveland.

Two Cleveland men have been charged in the case. Tracy Thompkins, 25, and Frederick Eason Jr., 32, are both charged with felonious assault.

Thompkins was released on GPS-monitored house arrest after he posted $50, 000 bond at his arraignment on Tuesday. His bond was revoked on Friday, after Larney died and prosecutors alerted the judge more serious charges were likely to be added to the case, according to court records.

Eason is jailed on $100, 000 bond. He also pleaded not guilty in the case.

The charges will likely be changed since Larney died. County prosecutors, however, would first have to present new charges to a county grand jury.

"The world lost a good soul, " Larney's father, Andrew Clarke said. "He didn't deserve to get beat down in the middle of the street. I'm totally disgusted. He was a great person, and a great dad who loved his kids to death. It's really sad. We're devastated. It's truly said that a simple incident could turn into a murder."

After the attack, Larney was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center, where he was put into a medically-induced coma because of several brain injuries. He also suffered a collapsed lung.

"I feel robbed, " his mother, Debra Larney, said. "That's probably the best description I can give you. Robbed of a son, his children were robbed of a father and the world was robbed of someone that exuded positive energy."

Larney was the father of a 3-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy, his parents said. Clarke said both of the children are with their mothers.

He played basketball for Lakewood High School and later played for Lake Erie College. His father described him as an athletic forward who played good defense and could score about 10 points a game.

"He really loved the game, " Clarke said. "He still played from time to time with his friends."

After Larney's basketball career ended, he transferred to Cleveland State University to try to get a degree in nursing. He switched his major to business administration, his mother said.

He got a job as a craps dealer at what was then called the Horeshoe Casino in downtown Cleveland, where he worked for about four years. In March, he got a job selling insurance at National General Insurance.

Both parents described their son, nicknamed Ziggy, as an outgoing guy who had a lot of friends. They said he had a silly side and liked to tease his family and friends.

"They say people in Hollywood have the 'it' factor, " Debra Larney said. "He had that. I've only known a couple of people like that in my life and my son was one of them."

She said her son was interviewed by a California TV station during the Republican National Convention. He told the interviewer that his main concern wasn't politics, but the high number of people killing each other in Cleveland.

Larney's death could become the 62nd homicide in Cleveland this year. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner said Larney's death is a suspected homicide but that an official ruling won't be issued until after his autopsy, which will likely be conducted this weekend.

"It's apropos that a week later he'd become a statistic in this whole pitiful situation, " his mother said. "Maybe my son's tragic ending will turn into some sort of positive message that people will make people understand the totality of life and the preciousness of life."

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