The Recent String of High-Profile Violent Crimes Involving Ethiopian Immigrants (Video)

Above: The latest known violent crime involving an Ethiopian
immigrant took place in Florida over the weekend, following
last year’s brazen attempted bank robbery in Maryland.

Tadias Magazine

Published: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New York (Tadias) – Our community is not used to making headlines, such as the recent string of high-profile violent crimes involving young Ethiopian immigrants, which should be a concern to all of us.

Following this new wave of mayhem, a man identified by police as 24-year-old Kidane Mengesha was arrested and charged with attempted murder in connection with the stabbings of two women in South Beach, Florida on Saturday.

According to WSVN-TV Channel 7, Mengesha, who immigrated from Ethiopia three years ago, approached Leigh-Ann Martinez, 21, and Belkin Gutierrez, 20, shortly after 9 pm where they had just finished dinner with friends at the popular restaurant TGI Friday’s and were walking towards their car. “He was trying to engage them in a conversation. They repeatedly told him, ‘Please leave us alone,’” Miami Beach Police detective Juan Sanchez said.

Mengesha first assaulted Martinez, who hit back, and a fight broke-out. Gutierrez joined in support of her friend, at which point the man pulled out a knife. Mengesha stabbed Gutierrez five times, in the head, torso and arm, and Martinez was stabbed once in the leg, according to press reports. “It was a big cut — a really big cut. I freaked out and passed out on the sidewalk,” Martinez said.

The disturbing news comes only days after a court in Maryland sentenced Josef Tadele, 24, to four years in prison for his role in a plot to kidnap the family of a bank manager. His co-defendant Yohannes Surafel, 25, who has also been convicted, faces a possible sentence of 75 years. A third suspect, Baruk Ayalneh, is believed to have left the United States.

According to prosecutors, the Maryland trio were acting out a scene from the movie “Bandits” – starring Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton- in which they hold bank managers hostage the night before they rob their banks.

Meanwhile in Florida, the victims, who fortunately survived the attack, are being treated in local hospitals. And Mengesha, who has no prior criminal record, is being held on $50,000 bond.

We hope these are isolated incidents, and not symptoms of a looming problem for the larger community.

WATCH: 2 Sentenced in Bank Mgr. Kidnapping

14 Responses to “The Recent String of High-Profile Violent Crimes Involving Ethiopian Immigrants (Video)”

  1. 1 Dawit Mar 31st, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    This is a shame! What is the solution? What can we do?

  2. 2 Ado Mar 31st, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    Of course its a symptom. Ethiopians have lost their way. Everyone thinks they are a rapper or a ganster. DC clubs are full of Ethiopians partying every night, drinking “Henny” and acting like fools. Ethiopians have chosen to take the route of a depressed immigrant, rather than a vibrant, forward looking immigrant.

  3. 3 Yonas Apr 1st, 2010 at 2:09 am

    Of course, these are isolated incidents, but there are some crazy ppl in our society. You know what the solution is? If your brother, son, or sister or daughter is behaving stupid…just send them back to Ethiopia so he or she can get whipped before they go crazy like these guyz.


  4. 4 Doro Wet Apr 1st, 2010 at 6:14 am

    Well the problem is also exasperated by the fact that there is no support system in the community for those of have mental illness. In my opinion, anyone who commits violent crime has undetected mental issues. The answer is Education, Education, Education. Not just money. If you are educated, you don’t have to reach for the knife when you feel you have been rejected by women…like the idiot in South Beach, Florida. Ignorance is the enemy.

    And where did one of the bank robbers run to outside of the united states? mmmmm. let’s see….probably back to where he was born.

  5. 5 kebere mengesha Apr 1st, 2010 at 7:53 am


    There is no difference between Ethiopian and the rest of the world. We live in this sinful world. Violence is now rising everywhere. The answer for our problem is just to turn our face to GOD and pray and help each other.

  6. 6 Tazabi Apr 1st, 2010 at 9:27 am

    This is a very sad trend these kids are on. They have no base or support or guidance. I think whatever they see in the movie, they believe it is reality. The Ethiopian Community should educate them or give them awareness. They come here with no information or how to function and they want it the easy way. Please, there should be a program or weekly paper or on internet which should circulate in all over the states. Radio programs should give five minutes of their time..Let us help.

  7. 7 Ethiopian Apr 1st, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Ethiopians are like any other. There is the good, the bad and the ugly. We are not all saints; certainly not I, but I don’t go out and commit a crime like these idiots did. If there was one perfect way to mitigate crime of one type or another, the whole world would adopt it. (Unfortunately) there isn’t one.

    All we can do is educate our people like “Doro Wot” said to minimize it. These guys appear to have been desperate in both cases (financially and sexually).

  8. 8 Madot Apr 1st, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    These kids are lost. This maybe very painful and embarrassing for their families. The criminal behavior may be largely due to cultural adjustment problems and language difficulties. New young immigrants need positive influences around them who could guide them through the complexities and opportunities of life in the United States. Despite all our problems, Ethiopians by in large are high achievers and these criminals do not represent the community, but they are our own, and can be reformed with love and guidance.

  9. 9 JOTE AGA Apr 1st, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Money and women problems. That seems to be the pinnacle of all the problems in the community.

  10. 10 mary Apr 22nd, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    I am convinced the problem is that the parents are not aware when their kids have emotional or mental problems and do not seek help for them. We do not have that tradition. We think the kids are just balegay. NO! They need help as soon as possibe-medication and therapy!!!

  11. 11 b0plot Sep 28th, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    “Ethiopians by in large are high achievers and these criminals do not represent the community” Consider this: All people’s are high achievers when given appropriate opportunity to achieve and thugs and the vile behavior associated with them is not representative of ANY demographic or community.
    kebere mengesha ~ wise words

  12. 12 Colt Nov 30th, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Then, what shall we do? No derogatory terms- no scapegoat – and no stereotyping!! if we are not part of the solution we are part of the problem no gray line and no neutrality. Come on, let us be practical and discuss towards a meaningful solution.

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