Thanksgiving Murders May Have Been Act of Vengeance

Bay City News
Tuesday November 28, 2006

A family feud over a brother’s death likely led to the Thanksgiving Day shooting in an Oakland apartment complex that killed two women and one man and injured two more, Oakland Police Department spokesman Roland Holmgren said. 

On March 1, 2006, Winta Mehari called 911 and told dispatchers that her husband, 42-year-old Abraham Tewolde of Berkeley, was having difficulty breathing, the Alameda County Coroner’s Office reports. 

Tewolde had no history of drug use, was athletic and had no health issues, said Deputy Sheriff Mike Bitle. According to Bitle, Tewolde’s death was not considered suspicious, but its cause could not be determined. 

On Thursday, police suspect Tewolde’s brothers, Temodros and Asmeron Gebreselassie, burst in on 28-year-old Winta Mehari of Berkeley, her 17-year-old brother Yonas Mehari and their mother Regba Baharengasi, both of Oakland, and shot and killed them before fleeing to a neighboring apartment. 

Yonas was a student at Berkeley High where he was a member of the football team. 

Holmgren reports that the shooting was likely the result of a family feud between the victims and the two Gebreselassie brothers over just exactly how their brother Abraham Tewolde died. 

According to Holmgren, officers were called to the third-floor apartment 305 at 5301 Telegraph Ave. at 3:10 p.m. Thursday after receiving reports of broken glass and screaming. 

Holmgren said when officers arrived, the three victims shot at the Keller Plaza apartment had already perished. 

Holmgren reported one man in apartment 305 escaped the haze of bullets unharmed. A 22-year-old man was shot in the foot and a 28-year-old man was shot in the arm and broke his back after he escaped the gunfire by jumping from a third-story window.  

Holmgren said the 28-year-old remains in the hospital and will likely be paralyzed.  

Red Cross spokesman Alan Tobey said police called the Red Cross to the apartment complex at 8 p.m. to provide shelter and mental health services to the 200 people who were evacuated from the apartment complex and stood on the street for hours as SWAT teams scoured the area for the shooters.